"This is a New Year's Song," Maggie whispered to us. Maggie had volunteered to be our Cantonese translator just before the second service at San Francisco Evangelical Free Church. Without her telling us that, we wouldn't have known that particular song was a New Year's song, but there were plenty of other indicators of the holiday.
For instance, the only English words on the screen were "Happy New Year". A woman on the worship team and many women in the congregation wore colorful quilted jackets. During the greeting time, Maggie told us people were instructed to wish each other "Happy New Year" and many people greeting us with those words in English (maybe they thought we only understood Mandarin?). We met one woman with a Richie Rich sweater which she said she was wearing for New Year's and because she was teaching the fourth through sixth grade Sunday School class.
It was our second worship service in the church for the morning. We attended the 9:00 am English language service and stayed for the 10:15 am traditional Chinese service. After the first service I asked one of the pastors, Chris (who preached for the English service), whether she would be preaching at the next service, and she laughed. Apparently fluent Cantonese is not in her skill set.
During the offering I recognized the instrumental music, "Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God," and I recognized the final tune the congregation sang together, the Doxology in Cantonese.
SFEFC describes itself as a community church and they do seem to be making an effort to minister to the community. With their stated priorities of "continuous prayer, caring, study, and being thankful" I'm sure their community will continue to benefit from their presence.
Service Length: 1 hour
Sermon Length: 30 minutes
Visitor Treatment: we were greeted warmly before, after and during the worship service, and during the service first-time visitors were invited to introduce themselves. Maggie introduced us in Cantonese during the Chinese service and in English during the first service.
Our Rough Count: 87
Probable Ushers' Count: 100
Snacks: the "ten minute party" happened after each service, with tea and snacks
Songs: a chorus, a traditional tune with Christian lyrics, a traditional Chinese New Year song, and the Doxology
Miles to place: 62Total California Miles: 4685