Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Half-time at Church

This last weekend our family visited a unique church - it had a half-time, or intermission, as a part of the service. The church was smaller than most of the ones we've visited. It has a link to conservative Mennonites but a first time visitor would not have a clue to its heritage. It was a friendly place, a place with simple  artifacts (that is Mennonite, but it's also part of the post-modern movement), a place with coffee and donuts, chairs, projector and a band. The setting and format of the service was normal structure for "simple church."

Then they did something unique, in the middle of the service they took a 10 to 15 minute break. Time for more coffee, more donuts, take the kids to the nursery or their Sunday school class. It was a time to talk with the person around beside you, or in another section of the room, or as two guys were doing, take up a serious theological discussion from Sunday School and continue it on for a moment.  
The band came up for the signal, time to re-assemble. They sang one song. Then we were launched into the sermon that lasted for 18-20 minutes. (Technically, the break came at about the 2/3 mark in the service.)

I found the experience fascinating and worthy of reflection. I wondered, could you do that in a larger church? How large of a church could pull that off every week? How essential is it to a smaller church? My guess is there is a hearty theology that informs this practice. They never applied the language of "passing the peace" but I suspect it is there in the shadows.

My kids really liked it, especially the ability to take donuts into worship.

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