Sunday, February 20, 2011

thirty-sixth visit: Feb 13th 2011 Mennonite

10:30am sunday
Pittsburgh Mennonite Church
2018 South Braddock Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15218

I had been looking forward to visiting a Mennonite Church. Often, when my mom mentions that she grew up Church of the Brethren (see 1st visit), she follows that statement with: "Are you familiar with that denomination? It's a little similar to Mennonite."

I don't know what exactly I was expecting... but I was expecting something quite different from the Protestant church in which I was raised in. This church is not so different. I think "Old Order" was what my mother was referring to maybe, and this order was not such. Or maybe things just can't be summed up so simply, because congregations (even within the same denomination) move, evolve, at different paces from one another.

I found this church to be one of the warmest congregations. Before my visit, Pastor Bender left a voice message in response to my initial "warning" call. He would not be preaching that day, and wanted me to know, but wanted to extend a welcome non-the-less.

During the celebration and concerns portion of the service, I introduced myself and mentioned the gist of this project. Immediately at worship's end, the first of several remarkable conversations begin. Aaron I think it was? Just wanting to know more about gatherings. Supportive curiosity. Thank you. I also met Candice. Scott stopped to tell me that he knows of a church in Santa Cruz where the relationship of the ritual of attending service and the ritual of making art is compared directly, united, literally, as a part of their mission, it sounds. He is friends with Pastor Dan there. He asked if I knew of Madeleine L'Engle's book that addresses this same topic. (no, but I did order it, and it's next to my computer as I type this, waiting for a rainy day ...titled "Walking on Water") Anticipation. L'Engle's books were absolutely among my favorite in my childhood. And finally, I met Karin (Karen?) who has been a member for 29 years.

And I received sincere, kind emails from members of this church, the week following this visit. Not to be forgotten.

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