Visited a Methodist Service

My son is a member of a Boy Scout troop sponsored by a Methodist Church. We supported the troop and attended a Scout Sunday service. I have never been to a non-Catholic service in my life and was a little unsure of what exactly was going to happen.

All I can say is what a disappointment. There was singing, one reading of Scripture Michah 6:6-8. More singing a 15 minute homily type talk a little more singing and it was over. I was left feeling that is this it … my son commented on how different he felt … like not much happened. He said, “I think we do a lot more prayers.” There was no comparison with this service to what the Mass is.

Anyone else visit a different denomination and what did you leave feeling like?

To their credit they weren’t offering a communion service, which would have been even more awkward. :eek: :smiley:

But, I know what you mean. When I was a Protestant I experienced a few different types of services from High Anglican to wild and woolly Pentecostal “praise services.” The Anglican were the most fulfilling because it is the closest to the Mass. The Lutheran seemed truly empty and the Pentecostal ones were, in the end, downright silly.

I’d been a Catholic for a few years when I was asked to do one of the readings at a Lutheran wedding of my nephew (which I cleared with my priest). When we came into the building, even with other people there, it was like no one was at home. I hadn’t realized how much I’d become accustomed to the Real Presence in the tabernacle and on the altar! The contrast between the two was so sharp for me I actually grieved in my heart that all we were going to be doing was singing, listening to readings and a sermon, and witnessing wedding vows instead of receiving the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.

[quote=Della] I hadn’t realized how much I’d become accustomed to the Real Presence in the tabernacle and on the altar! The contrast between the two was so sharp for me I actually grieved in my heart that all we were going to be doing was singing, listening to readings and a sermon, and witnessing wedding vows instead of receiving the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.
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One thing I did realize was my own taking for granted for what I have been given. I saw the difference and was not pleased at my taking what I have for granted attitude I have had in the past.

I went to a service of a Nazarene breakaway church that had just formed and was meeting at a school auditorium. This group had just broken away from the nearby Nazarene church over disagreements with the minister there. I did not feel like God was present at this service. There were about 20 people scattered around in auditorium seats and a man (the newly-appointed minister) in street clothes sat on the edge of the stage and spoke into a microphone about himself and about what Jesus meant to him. Then he cried softly a little as he recalled his long journey of faith and then asked his oldest son to sing some religious songs as he dabbed his eyes with a tissue. He mentioned some things about the Bible but it was mostly about the way he was encountering Jesus in his own life; giving advice for others. Afterward, there was coffee and cookies in the lobby and everyone went home.

I also went a second many months later when the breakaway church had become more established and was recruiting members. This church did not have services on Christmas (I think that would have inconvenienced their family Christmas celebrations :ehh: ) so I was invited to attend the service that was held on the Saturday closest to the day. We all sat at card tables decorated for Christmas, listened to the minister talk about Jesus and the symobolism of the candy cane and heard a handful of children singing Christmas carols. Then a man came in dressed as Santa and handed out candy canes.

The shallowness of what I experienced in these services actually left me feeling more distant from God and very empty. Just in my defense for having gone at all, I was trying to be polite with an in-laws situation very early in my marriage.

[quote=ncgolf]My son is a member of a Boy Scout troop sponsored by a Methodist Church. We supported the troop and attended a Scout Sunday service. I have never been to a non-Catholic service in my life and was a little unsure of what exactly was going to happen.

All I can say is what a disappointment. There was singing, one reading of Scripture Michah 6:6-8. More singing a 15 minute homily type talk a little more singing and it was over. I was left feeling that is this it … my son commented on how different he felt … like not much happened. He said, “I think we do a lot more prayers.” There was no comparison with this service to what the Mass is.

Anyone else visit a different denomination and what did you leave feeling like?
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This is exactly how I feel (no disrepect intented) when I attend my girlfriend’s ELCA church. I know they’re all good Christians and worshipping the best way they see fit, but good gosh I get bored with all the singing. Song after song after song…

[quote=ncgolf]One thing I did realize was my own taking for granted for what I have been given. I saw the difference and was not pleased at my taking what I have for granted attitude I have had in the past.
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That’s so true! All the others who have posted so far seem to understand this too.

This put me in mind of a baby shower cum prayer meeting I attended at an Assemblies of God church while I was in RCIA. I had been a member of the AoG for nearly 20 years, had returned to the ECUSA and from there had decided to enter RCIA as a candidate after reading about and understood many of the teachings of the Catholic Church. That meeting with those women from the AoG cemented for me my call to the Church like nothing else could have. It would take too long to go into all the whys of it, but suffice it to say, I came out exceedingly glad I wasn’t a part of their spirituality any more. I actually kissed a small statue of Mary I’d gotten quite recently and told her, "Thank you. Thank you so much for leading me out of that and into the house of your Son! :heart:

[quote=Della]When we came into the building, even with other people there, it was like no one was at home. I hadn’t realized how much I’d become accustomed to the Real Presence in the tabernacle and on the altar! The contrast between the two was so sharp for me I actually grieved in my heart that all we were going to be doing was singing, listening to readings and a sermon, and witnessing wedding vows instead of receiving the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.
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This is so true. We attend Christmas services with my in-laws at their non-denom. church and it’s like there’s something missing, that Presence. The people are very kind, the pastor’s good, the singing’s nice, but that’s it. It makes me so sad that they don’t get to experience that close relationship with Jesus that Catholics do.

I find the remarks about “getting bored with all the singing” quite amusing. Because for my part the lack of congregational singing is one of the ways in which I feel God is *not *present in most Catholic Masses. For many Protestants, hymns are a major means of grace. Just as you feel an absence when you don’t encounter means of grace you are used to, so do we.

Also, Della, what did you mean by saying that it was “to their credit” that they weren’t having a communion service? Of course you don’t think Methodist Eucharists are valid, but wouldn’t it be more to their credit if they were at least trying to celebrate the Eucharist?

I hate to sound like a relativist, but a lot of it really does depend on what you are used to. God is present in many ways.

Still, certain things are basic. Reading and proclamation of the Word, prayer to God through Jesus Christ, and celebration of Eucharist at least weekly–these are basic, I think. Catholics fall down pretty badly on the proclaiming the Word part, but given how much you read I wouldn’t say you lack any of the essentials. The Methodist church I attend lacks Eucharist three out of four Sundays, which is one of the reasons my wife and I attend an Episcopal church as well.

Edwin

I have a different perspective. I was a Methodist (and still technically am I guess because I just started RCIA last week.) The Methodist church re-introduced me to God. I was very lucky to attend a very large Methodist church in Indianapolis where the sermons were powerful and the clergy very gifted. The Methodists brought me back to Jesus and now I am going to worship more fully through the Catholic Church. The thing I don’t like about Mass is the lack of music throughout as I find music an excellent way in which to worship. Yes, it is very different from Mass but I have felt His presence inside a Methodist sanctuary as well as in Mass.

I went to my SIL’s Easter Service one year and was greatly disappointed in what the pastor decided to Preach about.

I had built it up in my head…how great the preaching is at “other Churches” as compared to my Catholic Church…

He spent 30min. on speculative thought…“how many of the Roman soldiers might have been saved the day that Jesus was crucified…”

I was not impressed.

I do not like a “gripe about how others worship” thread.
Of course a Catholic mass is radically different then what I grew up with and vice versa. Of course it would feel radically different and not seem like real worship.
Attitude makes the difference. No matter where you are on any given Sunday, turn to the Lord in prayer and ask that you display the love of Christ.
BH

Hello
I can kind of relate. I was baptized and confirmed in the United Methodist Church.

The Church that I attended most of my early years was a very traditional one. It was a very organized service. Communion was offered once a month.

When I hit my mid-teens I stopped going. My mom was a bit disappointed. She moved on to a more unorthodoxed UMC.

I attended services there a couple times, but was not impressed. There was too much music and not enough scriptures. It was VERY laid back. (That was strange to me, considering that I was so used to the traditional stuff). At her church they have communion EVERY Sunday. Once I went with my mom and I told her that I didn’t want to take communion. She was furious. But I really didn’t feel comfortable.

Silly, but true: No one told me when I was going through my UMC confirmation in Junior High that the communion was just ‘symbolic’. When I had my first communion, I took the word of the Rev that ‘This is the body’…I was really ticked off when a couple years later I was told that I had it all wrong.

The whole idea of communion is why I am VERY interested in becoming Catholic. (My grandmother is a devout Catholic. She taught me a little bit about her faith).–Read a few of my earlier posts to get my full story…

I am attending mass regularly now. I absolutely LOVE the Mass. Even though I am unable to take the Eucharist, I still like to attend. (I can’t go through with the RCIA classes because I am heading to the Philippines for the Peace Corps in three weeks…my inquiry teacher REALLY REALLY wants me to be at St. Mary’s for Easter…)

About the UMC: Another reason why I want to become Catholic is because of the mixed messages from the UMC. Their website makes it clear that UMC is not RCC…However, they tell Methodists that it is ok to do the sign of the cross, to have crucifixes in the church, etc. They even have a link up to study saints…it is the New Advent website…I was very confused to say the least. I put two and two together…RCC two thousand years old…Methodism 250 years old…Guess which one I chose?

Don’t get me wrong. Methodists are wonderful people. And most services are great. However, from my experience, I was looking for more.

Thanks
Joe

bjd,

Not all Methodists believe the Eucharist is merely symbolic. Indeed, the UMC’s official documents take quite a different view–not the Catholic position but definitely a form of Real Presence. The “just a symbol” view is the result of the general Baptistification of American Protestantism.

Also, why is it “confusing” to make the sign of the Cross and use the crucifix? Why do you assume that Methodists are supposed to reject these things?

It’s comparing apples and oranges to compare the UMC with the Catholic Church. The UMC doesn’t claim to be the True Church. The Protestant equivalent of the Catholic Church (i.e., what Protestants mean when they say “I believe in the Catholic Church”) is Rome and the East and the Protestants altogether. And that Church is just as old as the Roman Communion, since it includes the Roman Communion. The UMC doesn’t claim to be any more than one particular constituent part of the Church.

Edwin

I churched hopped through quite a few Protestant churches. The first Protestant service I ever attended was Presbyterian. It was a non-communion week. I was raised Catholic but fell away in my teens. So, years later, my first time at church in years, I went. The service just felt…empty. At that uninformed time of my life, I couldn’t explain it. They sung a few songs, the preacher talked for 45 minutes, then we left. They people were quite friendly though!

I tried quite a few more non-denominational style services, but every time I walked away dissapointed. Sometimes I heard a great sermon, and felt energized for a few minues, but when I walked out I would always think “That’s it?”

I went to Iraq. My Chaplin was Baptist to the highest degree. I went to his service every week. I also went to his Bible studies, twice a week. I learned a lot about Jesus. I learned a lot about Baptists. I read the Bible.

He always encouraged me to check out christiananswers.net. I did. I noticed they attacked Catholics a bit on there. I got worried about my folks, so I started to research. Long story short, I came rushing back to the Catholic Church when I put the Bible against Baptist theology.

My first Mass back in the Church, I walked out with a feeling of peace. Of course, that didn’t last when I told my Baptist girlfriend that I was Catholic. Neither did our relationship, but such is life.

I said all that to say this. I know the Protestants are worshipping the only way they know how, and I did feel God’s presence in many churches. But my first Mass back, I saw God’s presence, and I have never looked back. In fact, I walk out of Mass every time now and think “I could be a Priest, I could lead these people.” But that is another topic, and I have four years to decide on that one. :stuck_out_tongue:

Adam

Contarini,
Yes, I understand that the UMC and RCC are different. It’s just I was exploring my faith and I felt that the UMC website was wishy-washy…“We formally don’t do this, but if you wanna do it, fine” talk doesn’t go over well with me…
And like I said, Methodism is not bad at all. I was looking for more, that’s all.

Assuming that Methodists are supposed to reject all things ‘Catholic’…I am not saying that. But, Have you ever been inside a UMC before?..I have been to quite a few around the country. I have NEVER seen a crucifix in a UMC church (besides my moms ‘unorthodox’ UMC). As a UMC member I thought that it was odd that my church would give its followers mixed messages. That’s all I am saying…Sorry if I offended you. didn’t mean to do that…

About Communion: Again, I realized that there is some ‘Real Presence’ thought in the UMC…But the one’s I have been to it is purely symbolic…In fact, I was discussing this issue with my mother (she is a communion server)…She tells me that the Welch’s juice goes down the sink and the saltines used as the body are thrown away…To me, if there was any ‘Real Presence’ involved, there would be a more dignified way of taking care of the remnants. I told my mom that and she gave me a funny look…Am I thinking wrong here?

Bottom line: I respect the UMC and I love Methodists…It’s just that I am looking for more…

Sorry that I offended you. That wasn’t my intention.

Thanks
Joe

During my journey, I too Church hopped around. I find the Folks at the UMC to be the ones, I have the fondest memories of!

There truly are some very fine Christian people at the UMC. Now I am A devout Catholic. But I definitely have a soft spot in my heart for the people of the UMC!

I love that TV ad!

I’ve been to Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist services. The first time I went to a Presbyterian service, I genuflected, since at the time I didn’t really know why you do that, and it was just something I was conditioned to; you genuflect everytime you enter the pew (of course, now I know better). I definitely learned my lesson then! The Baptist one was the most different out of all of them. I won’t say they were better or worse, they were just different. I personally prefer Mass more.

I attended a funeral service for an aunt several years ago at a downtown Methodist church and was absolutely amazed at the trappings of Catholicism there. The vestments and their color, the altar set up, etc., were all identical. Had I not known better, the service could have easily passed for a Requiem Mass. Since that’s the only Methodist church I’ve ever been in, I don’t know how their regular services are or what the other churches do.

Last summer, while visiting a friend in New York, after attending Mass at Saturday Vigil, I attended my friend’s Hungarian Reformed Church with her. I left that service with a renewed appreciation of all that we have as Catholics. It was very dry, for lack of a better word.
My friend’s husband, who was a Catholic before escaping Hungary in 1956, tried to tell me that there "is absolutely no difference between Catholic and the Hungarian Reformed Church."
My response to him was, “it’s evident by that remark, that you have been out of Holy Mother Church for 50 years. Come home!”. (he didn’t speak to me for the rest of the day.)

I felt a bit surprised when attended my first Protestant worship service my freshman year of high school. It was assigned to go by the priest teaching my theology class. Dad was not happy and was going to forbid it. I smoothed his feathers and went to a Presbyterian church my friend from public school attended. He was not there that week. I was surprised at the reading of only one Scripture and an OT one at that. Also I was stunned that we sang every verse. They did not celebrate the Lord’s Supper that day.

Ten years later I wentto another Presbyterian servie on Christmas Eve with my fiancee now wife of twelve years. They read several Scriptures from the Nativity story and then followed with a Christmas carol that dealt with the Scripture. They did celebrate Communion and I did not commune.

That following summer we went every other week to each others services and I thought they gave up the Mass for this?

Howvever, now I do have a better appreciation for the worship although I think the music is a bit much and the 4th Sunday of Advent is just a concert and no attempt to be a worship service.

I go to Mass every Sunday and take our oldest with me. Mass could be more reverent but there is a sacredness there that I do not find elsewhere. I have been to the Greek Orthodox and Ukranian Catholic and TLM and it was there too. I think a lot of it is the building. The megachurch my friends attended when they lived here was a huge auditorium with no sacred art and a screen with the lyrics to the “contemporary praise music”. It was not soemthing you participated in it was all done for you and you were a spectator. The mainline churches have an exchange between the minister and the people and pray the Lord’s Prayer and Apostle’s Creed each Sunday.

We need to look for the positives and be polite guests and try to improve our own Church’s liturgy by dressing better and using more sacred music etc.

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