Wednesday, January 17, 2018
To be honest, we went to Saint James because it was nearby, and the service started at 7:30 am. I’d worked 11:00 pm to 7:00 am the night before, so an early service meant I’d get to bed earlier -- which sounded very good. Many churches don’t offer an early service, but I didn’t feel like I could stay awake for an 11:00 am service.
early services: those kids’ soccer leagues that play on Sundays, or Sunday work schedules (next Sunday morning, Mindy has to be at work by 10:45), not to mention (though I guess I’m about to) the NFL playoffs -- after church I heard a few guys discussing whether that afternoon’s games would make an Eagles - Patriots Super Bowl matchup. (I’m hoping for Vikings - Jaguars myself.)
Samuel and Nathanael in the morning Scripture readings. “These two important calls are your homework for the next four minutes,” he added.
Mary and Martha, to be still and to work simultaneously. Keith said that's his own tendency as well, and that by looking at the faces in the congregation, he could tell that many could relate.
I Samuel 3 and in John 1. He discussed the importance of listening to God’s call and also answering God’s call. He also talked about the importance of having other people in our lives who help us discern God’s call.
We noticed another distinctive in the earliest service of the morning (called the Contemplative Eucharist): it had no accompanist. Later services include hymns and songs, but this one doesn’t. Even so, the service isn’t without music. As it says in the liturgy, “A proper preface (to the Eucharist) is sung or said on all Sundays.” When Keith leads the service, it is sung, because he loves music.
our project of visiting churches and bars, and he kindly said he hoped we’d be back at Saint James more than once a year. He also sent a very nice email the next day, which
is the kind of personal follow up we’ve really come to appreciate.
The saying is the early bird catches the worm. Frankly, I haven’t gone fishing for a very long time, so my interest in worms is minimal, but being early has other benefits, such as an encouraging time of worship at churches like Saint James.
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
“Mistakes were made.” (The passive voice is ideal for avoiding blame.)
We thought it was time to visit some Armenian churches. Armenians have a long history in Fresno, arriving in the area after escaping European persecution in the late 19th and early 20th century. “Little Armenia” is no longer a part of the city as it was, but anyone can visit the Armenian Museum of Fresno, established in 2003. Fresno’s most famous native son, writer William Saroyan, was Armenian, as is artist Corky Normart.
website (all in English) had the service start time at 11:00 am. To our delight, the pastor had previously served at a church we visited in San Francisco a couple of years ago, and we looked forward to seeing him again. We were excited.
Pilgrim Armenian Congregational Church) but had gone to the Armenian Protestant church a few blocks south east of us, Armenian Church, Christians of Evangelical Faith. (Which explained why we didn’t see the pastor and why the sanctuary -- even the cross up front -- looked entirely different from the website.)
Mindy was glad she’d brought a scarf, because every woman wore a head covering, and she didn’t want to give offense.
Armenian alphabet is very different from English -- or even Greek or Russian, so we couldn’t even sing along phonetically.
mistakes were made. But this faithful gathering of God’s people was not one of them.