Sunday morning we were encouraged to attend one of the local Reformed churches. My registration choice of a local church did not make it through so I was left without assignment or transportation. Although I was given in the option of meeting the shuttles in case there was room, I found the Harvest Bible Chapel which I could walk to in 10-15 minutes with services at 9 and 11. It was raining in the morning, as it has been for most of our stay here at Trinity Christian College, so I waited until the 11 am service. Luckily the rain paused and it was a pleasant walk through a very nice residential neighborhood (think gated driveways with tennis courts) to get to the church. Although it was next to this nice neighborhood, the church was on a very busy commercial boulevard, not as nice as the neighborhood. According to the internet, the building was once the home of the Reformed Church of Palos Heights.
I got there about 10 minutes early and there were only a few people in the sanctuary. More people came in and at 11 a praise band started. After about 30 minutes of praise songs there were close to 200 in the church and they took an offering. Another 10 minutes of praise songs was followed by introduction of a guest speaker. The guest speaker was a former youth-minister in the church who was currently planting a new Harvest Chapel in Rochester, NY. I found a biography online and picked out a statement that he was “saved from the Catholic Church at the age of 10.”
The sermon was based on 1 Peter 2:4-10 and was very interesting. Included with the bulletins passed out at the door was a note-sheet and I noticed the majority of congregants were using them. Periodically during the sermon the leader would mention that they should make a note of something or fill in one of the blanks on the note page. It was a very interesting sermon, although, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m not real fond of the praise music. I did note that one of the praise song used, 10,000 reasons (I think) was one that was used by the RCA praise teams and I did like it better the second time I heard it. For some reason the song made me think of REM (80’s rock band)
I left after 90 minutes to get back to Synod, the service looked like it was starting to wind down. I’ll be bringing the bulletin back to show the Consistory.
In the afternoon on Sunday we had various work shops. I chose to attend one on conflict management which centered on Acts 15 and the Council of Jerusalem. The leaders made a big effort at the beginning to make sure everyone knew that the topic and Scripture were chosen months before Synod and were not related to the Presidents recommendation on the gay marriage issue, which is being called the Jerusalem Council by delegates at the Synod.
The workshop was led by a member of the RCA staff and a Pastor from a church in Holland Michigan. It focused on personal styles of handling conflict and communication. I’m not sure I got very much from it and hope that we won’t have much in the way of conflict to handle at Old Saratoga where I might need these techniques. If we do I’ll have to call on Abby Norton-Levering who was at the workshop and is here representing Albany Classis. Abby also is the Synod of Albany Ministries Coordinator …. whatever it is that she does.
There are some other focus groups meeting this afternoon, which I have not been invited to and then dinner and the Evening Plenary. Not sure what they will be doing although our program lists a speaker and discussion.