I attended a local Lutheran church this Sunday. I was greeted very warmly and personally at the door by a greeter. He really made me feel welcome.
I went to find a place in the pew, I’d gotten there a little early to have my choice. There were a few people already there. I had been told by the greeter that there was a children’s program today. I saw children preparing, dressed in Christmas story garb.
People started coming in. An older woman sat next to me and wanted to talk with her friends in the pew in front of me. She kept getting in my space to do that. People are very social before the service there. Once the service started I felt more comfortable, it does make a newcomer feel left out when people are socializing.
The children took turns in reciting a well constructed enactment of the Christmas story in rhymes and songs. It was great. This was interspersed with the congregation singing Christmas carols to a real pipe organ.The music was impressive! I love that pipe organ! The children sang very sweetly. They also had adult solos, very talented performers, one lady sang a Chinese Christmas song, she was Chinese. It was great.
After the service my greeter connected with me again. It turns out that he was a pastor there back in the 70s and 80s. He was a sharp, elderly man. He gave me a tour of the wonderful facility, showed me the indoor gymnasium that serves the children. Once a week at night the Church also serves the local homeless by providing bedding and showers. They alternate with other churches in this small town. Sadly, the Catholic Church isn’t one of them, I was disappointed to hear. A volunteer stays up all night to keep a watchful eye on the sleepers, who as you know are often mentally ill and unpredictable.
The service did not have anything other than the children’s excellent program and carols. This, of course, was unusual. No preaching or conventional liturgy.
I told the greeter that I would be back again.