In the announcements during the weekend services we attended at St. Matthew's, Trevor the youth pastor urged people to wear red the next weekend for Pentecost Sunday -- and perhaps bring a fire extinguisher, because he and Father Rob would be doing one of their favorite things: playing with fire in church.
One advantage of staying at Rob and Linda's home was the opportunity to ask the questions we ask in a bar. Whenever we visit a bar we ask, "What makes for a good bar?" and "What makes for a good church?" Sometimes people ask us in bars, "Do you ask priests those questions?" Frankly, we usually don't. We certainly don't ask Baptist pastors we've just met those questions. But since I know drinking real wine (not Welch's grape juice) is part of Rob's job description, I asked him.
To be fair, Virginia isn't much of a bar state. There aren't real bars here, just bars in restaurants. And Rob, though not a teetotaler, is pretty much a one drink and done guy. He hasn't given a lot of thought to the issue of what makes for a good bar.
I talked with a group of ladies enjoying each other's company at a table in the fellowship hall. I asked what drew them to the church, and they said, "This." It was after noon, and several had been at church since the 8:00 am worship, but they were happy to be together.
5:00 pm (contemporary Eucharist)
Service Length: 59 minutes
Sermon Length: 16 minutes
Visitor Treatment: Rob introduced us at the end of the service and several people stopped to chat with us. The offering envelopes also have a place for visitor information (but we didn't turn one in until Sunday morning). During the "Peace" portion of each of the worship services, people seemed to try to greet people throughout the sanctuary, not just the one or two people around them.
Our Rough Count: 50
Probable Ushers' Count: 60
Musicians: vocals (man, 2 women), electric guitar (man), electric bass (man), acoustic guitar (man), piano (woman) drums (man)
Songs: True Colors
If I Stand
8:00 am (Rite I Eucharist)
Service Length: 55 minutes
Sermon Length: 15 minutes
Our Rough Count: 22
Probable Ushers' Count: 25
Snacks: donuts, muffins, cookies, fruit, lemonade, water, coffee, hot water for decaf or tea
9:30 am (contemporary Eucharist)
Service Length: 1 hour 8 minutes
Sermon Length: 18 minutes
Our Rough Count: 135
Probable Ushers' Count: 150
Snacks: muffins, fruit, cookies, fruit hedgehogs and hummingbirds, chocolate dipped strawberries, coffee, hot water for decaf or tea, lemonade, water
Musicians: electric guitar (man), vocals (2 women, 1 man), piano (woman), acoustic guitar (man), electric bass (man), drums (man)
Songs: True Colors, The River, My Lighthouse, Holy, If I Stand, With Every Act of Love, Impossible
Service Length: 1 hour 5 minutes
Sermon Length: 15 minutes
Followup by Tuesday Morning:
none (unless you count constant loving care by Linda and Rob as we stayed at
their house. We count that) We also got a personal email from the church's amazing office manager, Miriam, about a week later.
Our Rough Count: 67
Probable Ushers' Count: 75
Snacks: same as above, with the addition of pita chips and hummus
Musicians: piano, choir (about 15 people)
Songs: Forever Praise (choir alone)
Thy Strong Word did Cleave the Darkness
Glory to God
Ticket to the Promised Land (choir alone)
Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow
Open the Eyes of my Heart (choir alone)
Abide with me
Stand up, Stand up for Jesus
Miles to church: 4 miles
Miles from start: 13,338
Total 2016 Miles: 13,081
Church website: http://www.stmtts.org/
I was glad to sit in on the 4th-5th grade Sunday School class, taught by a man named Pete who obviously cares for the baker's dozen of students that were in attendance. I noted some wonderful things the students said, comments on the story of Paul and Silas in jail from Acts 16. About the slave girl with a spirit of divination, a young girl said, "I like to think I have a super power." In answer to the question of what Paul and Silas might have done when they were freed from their chains at midnight, "Did they become nocturnal?" And another kid misread the jailer's plea, "How can I be saved?" as "How can I be a slave?"