Sunday, December 5, 2010
twenty-sixth visit: Dec 5th 2010 Presbyterian
East Liberty Presbyterian Church
116 S. Highland Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15206
Yes, same address as visit numbers 13 and 22, but different congregation, entirely different part of the church, entirely different religious leader, and entirely different type of service. Today I attend with intentions to participate in the labyrinth prayer walk following the service. The labyrinth is mentioned for this date on ELPC's website, and I called to confirm... but it must have been canceled on short notice, so I end up heading home after realizing this, post-service. I'll just catch it on Wednesday—do feel it's very important to include in this project. And still fits my rules: same address, but different congregation, different part of church, etc, etc... and definitely my last trip to ELPC for this project, to be fair. Meanwhile, I'll blog about today's service.
Today (or at sundown) observers of Christianity and Judaism are lighting candles—two for the second Sunday of advent, and five (plus the Shamash candle) for the fifth day of Hanukkah, respectively. At ELPC, the sermon is on fire... or um, concerning fire. Addressing all the different types of fire: that of brimstone, or that of determined pious passion... and which do each of us bring?
Reverend Randy Bush had mentioned that I should attend this service "to see how everyone rises to take communion at the front of the church." They do (I did), indeed. I want to ask him more about this, as I understand it's mostly only at Catholic and Episcopal services that this ritual is performed in this way. For a Presbyterian service, here there's a remarkable amount of pageantry in the coming and going of snuffers and crosses carried on staffs. And who can name a performance artist who doesn't love a pageant?
While drawing in the sanctuary after service, I have a conversation with a woman named Mary who suggests I attend South Avenue United Methodist Church in Wilkinsburg because the building has a little chapel hidden away on the second floor. She loves churches with secret worship rooms and I'm intrigued, as well. Wilkinsburg had been on my schedule a couple of weeks ago, but I had to cancel. And whether (or how) she knew that just yesterday I decided that it was past time to try again, I can not tell you.
Oh, and a new total on our Steelers garb. Today I saw:
2 worshipers in Steelers jerseys.
2 worshiper in Steelers sweatshirts.
1 worshiper in a black and gold striped sweater.
Later this same day, I returned to Beth Shalom to take my photographs, and the gentleman who was vacuuming there was wearing a Steelers sweatshirt. Alas, I can't prove he was worshiping (though I can't prove he wasn't either...) but I guess in the end I can't count him. Sigh.
Today: 5 worshipers at East Liberty Presbyterian Church wearing Steelers garb.
Running Total for the project: 13 (to date)