Friday, February 26, 2010
Church Journey Week 5 (New Hartford)
As you can tell, we are playing catch up recording this journey. Eventually we will be up to date, I promise. As I re-read my notes on Saint Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church in New Hartford, I realized I hadn't written anything down about the church building and I will give you my excuse later. I remember there were wooden pews and some were sideways to the pulpit. It is a typical white New England church building. I don't remember stained glass. The organ was small and in back of the church. It was pretty plain. There was no American flag. There was an addition onto the church that had us kind of rambling around to get to the coffee hour. If left on our own, we would have been lost.
I believe I lost interest in the church building as our focus was on the people. Once we were seated, the couple in front of us immediately introduced themselves and starting explaining things about the church. Within a couple of minutes, Rev. Timothy Yeadon bounded up to cheerily greet us. He said he saw new faces and wanted to introduce himself. He told us a trick to remember his name. He said when he was done with the sermon, we would say "Yeah, he's done." He is a bubbly and exuberant pastor.
The service was a little difficult for us to follow. We are not used to the traditional readings and responses and we struggled to find them on the appropriate pages in the hymnals. I has been interesting on our journey as we have spoken to people and their various worship preferences. George and I don't care for reading the corporate response. I would rather ponder my own feelings and search my heart for my own personal response and would like silent reflection time to respond in my personal way with God. One person we spoke to mentioned how he loved the written responses and how it made him think more about particular issues in relation to his life. Aren't we fortunate to live in a country where we can worship how we prefer?
This particular Sunday there was an infant baptism. After the baptism, the beaming Rev. Yeadon took the baby around to every single pew to show them the adorable infant.
The sermon was entitled "Real Healing" based on Luke 4:31-44, Acts 10:38, John 9, Phil.1:21. (I appreciate it when a pastor gives the references for what they are proclaiming.) Rev. Yeadon tackled the tough subject of the suffering people endure. He reminded us not to take things for granted. He referred to the time when Jesus was asked, "who sinned the blind man or his parents". He said God does not work that way--measure by measure with a clipboard in hand and punishing us in life. Satan is always trying to derail us.
Jesus went through his own trials and suffering on earth. By his wounds we are healed. He did not come just to solve our problems, but to save us. Why doesn't God heal? This is what my notes say, "he heals us by Christ...(child screamed) and we would envy them if we could see them now with Jesus in heaven." There was a little one not happy to be there and with his mom by herself. She was having a time trying to quiet him. As Rev. Yeadon ended his sermon with "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." We are saved to save others--our purpose in life.
The child began crying and would not stop. Rev. Yeadon asked the mother if he could take him. The child immediately stopped crying while the pastor continued the remaining part of the service holding him until the end and even taking him to say goodbye to people at the door. It was amazing. He was not related to the child. The child did not start crying again.
This was another church where they recognized birthdays and even sang the birthday song. I don't recall doing that in a church service before.
During our stay the people behind us talked to us too. The person in front of us led us through the winding hallways and stairs to the coffee hour. We spoke with a couple more people there and enjoyed coffee and goodies. I think the major thing I would take away from this church is the friendliness and the wonderful attitude of the pastor. It is a place where you will always feel welcome and I believe, be uplifted.
We went to the 8 am service. There are services at 8 am and 10:30 am with an additional contemporary praise and worship at 9:15 am. They have Children's church and adult Bible studies. Check out their website for the complete information: www.stpaulsnewhartford.com