Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Visit to Holy Trinity Lutheran - Lakeview

This worship experience was perhaps the “highest” church service style I will be visiting on my sabbatical journey. By “high church style” I am using the phrase to reflect the liturgical elements present during the service. While Holy Trinity is rooted in the Lutheran tradition, their service depicts elements one would also find in an Episcopalian or Roman Catholic service – from the processing with the cross, to making the sign of the cross as one enters the sanctuary, to the Communion liturgy. Because of the many elements present during the service, there was a “worship guide” pamphlet that helped guest or those who are not familiar with the tradition understand what was happening. And yet while these ancient elements were present, there was a “freshness” that also was present in the service. The sanctuary was filled with a diversity of ages, with the median age around 40. The worship bulletin was designed with guests in mind, with words of welcome on the bulletin, similar to the UCC slogan – "No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here." I felt at ease – perhaps because I knew the pastor and a couple of other people in the congregation. And I had no anxiety about the bulletin liturgy because there were helpful “guides” posted throughout the bulletin that instructed visitors on worship behavior. However, the print was obviously designed for a younger age group - 9 point font. The worship began with a lovely piano – viola duet. Actually in the very beginning, a Buddhist bell rang out, which served as a signal that worship was about to begin. The bell called people into a mood of silence as they prepare themselves for worship. While the music during the service was unfamiliar, it was quickly learnable and singable. The organ filled the room and moved one to sing. (Although I did see several people out of the corner of my eye who were not singing.) The sermon was short (10 minutes) since it was only one element of the worship experience. The entire service, which included Communion, was about an hour. There were no visual images projected during the worship. In fact, with the design of the sanctuary, projections would be challenging without invading the space’s design. (1920’s style building) The sanctuary was welcoming (except the hard pews), lovely decorated and well maintained. Much of their bulletin elements reminded me of Three Crosses, including listing of announcements within the bulletin. Holy Trinity’s web site is: www.holytrinitychicago.org Holy Trinity is opening a site up in the South Loop area in a few weeks. It will be interesting to see if the worship style will be different based upon the demographic they are trying to reach.


Karen Schneider said...

It doesn't sound as if there is much to learn from this church. I am finding Christianity for the Rest of Us very interesting. Thinking about her idea of head/heart. We definitely do a lot of thinking and study about our beliefs, but we don't talk as much about spirituality and being in the presence of God. This has always been very comfortable for me, but this book is making me think more about the idea of God being present. When I give all the credit to our amazing community when I feel so refreshed and energized by a Sunday service, maybe I should ask if part of this is due to God's presence. Just a thought.

Church of the Three Crosses said...

I am right there with you Karen, the energy that I get from Sunday through the worship experience, talking to people and the fellowship time exchange is so life-giving to me. It is the human to human exchange that shapes my heart and life. I am thinking this is the God presence.