Sunday, March 30, 2014

Christ Church, Warren, OH, 30 March 2014

Of course we awoke to 4 or so inches of new snow. It is Sunday after all. I was grateful that the Ohio highway people had the roads cleared and salted before I got there. The PA roads were snow covered and slippery. This church is only 45 or so minutes away and would be doable if I were looking for a new church home. I knew their organist in a prior life but he wouldn't remember me. I didn't get a chance to speak to him anyhow.

The Christ Church facility is humungous! I didn't try to photograph or explore the extensive building behind what you see. Like the church in Cranbury, NJ it is very modern. For someone who is used to the elderly facilities I've been visiting locally, it is quite a shock. With the screen one would expect to see lots of electric plugs all over the altar space. Hee. Yes, there was a guitar today - with a flute.

In the parking lot two people passed me by without even looking but another woman engaged me in conversation. Entering the church one sees the Mens Room on the right. Nice. The Ladies Room is easily visible across the huge narthex. (Or is it a southex?) There is also an obvious coatrack. The choir was gathering and several folks greeted me.

Entering the church itself was a bit awkward. The baptismal font is right there in the middle. There were several people milling around. I didn't know if one was an usher. I got a bulletin from the font but then a woman handed me one. People were welcoming.

The handbell choir played before the service. Lots of people around my age in it. Apparently it is relatively new. You could recognize the tunes so I thought they did a great job. They have 4 octaves of bells and had borrowed some choir chimes from a Lutheran church. The leader talked to me after the service. She tried to recruit me.

If you know the tune and don't plan to sing harmony, the projected hymn is nice. No book to hold. I knew all the hymntunes and most of the words. I didn't know any of the responses but they were printed on a separate flyer. The psalm was sung I assume by everyone. I sang anyhow. It was a familiar Anglican chant tune by Meachen. 

They have an early service and use Rite II at 10 am. Yea! I was happy to say the newer Our Father for a change. Ever since I first saw it I've preferred it. After all, sinning is much more fun than walking over some curmudgeon's grass. And more to the point. They also say "All things" and don't sing the (to me) protestant Doxology after the offering.

Holding hands in prayer position reminded me of Holy Trinity Lutheran. I can't do that comfortably which is why I probably notice it. I didn't ask but assume the priest used an iPad or similar as there was no paper shuffling.

This is quite a gathering space.

The church is impressively huge and spare.

The handbell choir played.

One needn't use the book. Kinda nice.

A big black dog joined the children. There were treats for all. One young one remained for the duration while the others exited for the sermon.

The Prayers of the People IV were led from the front of the congregation. I could barely hear her even tho she had a mike.

The choir is about the same size as the other Ohio churches have had - maybe a dozen. They are ok. I would probably be comfortable singing with them. Besides the flute and guitar, there was a solo with this anthem which was in a sort of spiritual mode. The choir swayed but looked very white doing it. Hee.

There wasn't any incense but there were plenty of bells. More than I've heard rung elsewhere - always 3. I like bells.

I think the plaque says Casavant.

There are two windows which are not visible from the congregation which I think is odd. This is on the choir side. They can see it.

The huge altar rail has needlepoint kneelers all around it. They are various colors and patterns. Quite beautiful.

This is recessed above the altar.

This is the other hidden window.

The clergy seats are also needlepoint as are their kneelers. I seem to get an Altar Guild lady in every church photo somehow. They are so important!

There are two of these candle screens, this one in front of the pulpit, the other in front of the lectern. People light candles after they commune. But they blow them out at the end. I didn't get to light one unfortunately. Sorry, Holy Cross. Next time.

This is the back window with a beautiful and great rank of party horns. I didn't take photos of the very high windows on either side of the room.

If there was a coffee hour, I wasn't invited. They might have it between services. People seemed to be gathered in the narthex. I didn't see or smell any food tho I didn't really look for any.
Getting used to the modern building and the very necessary amplification - padded seats and kneelers plus carpet everywhere - would take some time. It feels a little sterile tho the people certainly aren't. If I were looking for a church home, this would probably be it. So far.

1 comment:

Nancy Timms said...

Shelley, that was my church when I was in Warren. The original Christ Church was across the street from St. Mary's Catholic on High Street in downtown Warren.
The congregation had a pledge drive beginning in the late forties/early fifties. They raised ALL the money for the church before one brick was laid or hole dug!!
They never had a mortgage! Hope they still don't, but who knows, times and ways have changed.
My father sang in the choir. Originally we went to the Methodist church downtown but my dad was 'recruited' to sing in the Christ Church choir, so after a while my mother thought it stupid that the 4 of us went to the Methodist church and my dad to the Episcopal church, and we joined there. My sister and I had to be baptized to join.
I knew all the women who did the needlepoint! Art and I were married in the chapel. Did you go see it? They took pews, altar, etc.., from the old church and put them in there. The glass windows were sort of re-done using the same glass from them also. There is a columbarium under the floor in front of the altar, not right in front, but before you step up to the altar. Both my parents ashes are in there. There is a wall plaque of sorts outside of the chapel stating who's ashes are buried there.
Jim Knecht, Joanne Tortorette, Bill Muter, Judy Thomas, and lots more from out class were members there. After our fiftieth reunion we all went to church together and then lunch.
You'll laugh, we had our wedding reception in the church library. We were married at 11:30 in the morning and had punch, nuts, mints and little sandwiches, and of course cake, with coffee & tea after the ceremony. Certainly not like some of the weddings nowadays! (we were broke and in college!)
After my dad died, we bought all new chairs for the choir room! They are still there! The seats are padded, if I'm not mistaken!
They also have a darling children's chapel and my mom bought altar stuff and vestments to be used there. Not sure they would still be used. She died in 1998, at 93.
Oh, the marble, for the altar, was from some special place in Italy! The organ was/is very special also, but I can't remember the history of it. They gave many, many concerts there for the public, not sure if they still do that.
There were a LOT of monied families in that church! That's why the organ, altar, windows, and other things are in there, because of special gifts from these families. They have a book somewhere of the whole history somewhere.
You are a courageous soul to drive that far. I think they are struggling somewhat. I didn't find them to be overly friendly to 'visitors', which could be one of their problems.
Our current Lutheran church, on the other hand, is growing by leaps and bounds. We had a 3 year debt reduction and paid off about 1.3 million in that time. The majority of our congregation is made up of young couples. Great to see. We are an 'open' church and so many of those families have found a home there. They are all so involved in everything, too. I think in part because they, for so long, have never been welcomed in churches before.
Well, I've blabbed long enough, but, gosh, have I ever enjoyed those pictures! Thanks, dear one!!!!