As usual there were snowflakes when I left for church. They got pretty intense here and there on my journey but not dangerous. That was a concern as I left about 15 minutes later than planned. I knew I would be late but that's life. Turned out I got there at the tail end of the opening hymn. In my hurry I forgot to change glasses and also left the camera in the car. I retrieved them during the offering.
My decision to drive two hours to church in snow was precipitated by a late night discussion during which the rector said he hadn't written a sermon yet. He and I have been internet friends but had never met.
Since I was late, there was no usher to greet me. I slid into the penultimate pew and was immediately greeted by the man on the other end of the pew who offered to share his hymnal. I knew they were on the last verse tho. He continued to be friendly and helpful throughout the service. Afterward he introduced me to the organist who is quite good. She's his wife. My voice tends to bring people to say something and invite me to join the choir. I'm grateful that I can still sing.
I was happy to encounter Rite II, Form 3. Lent is a good time for that. I've done it fewer than a half dozen times and like it. It was also good to hear a good choir again. Nobody walked on by during the peace. Everyone was cordial tho nobody invited me to coffee hour until after. It was interesting to see the choir process to the back and sing the hymns until everyone else had communed at which point they did. The church isn't very large so that was good leadership for the music.
The priest is a good preacher. He had obviously spent some time either very late or very early thinking about what he would say. He was asked by the Plain Dealer to comment on some questions in writing which he read to us. His responses were thoughtful. I hope I can see them in "print" eventually. He even related them to the Gospel. He also reads the Gospel like a story. I loved it!
After church he gave me a tour of the facilities which are undergoing some rearranging. I had followed the addition project online which was completed last year. It seems to have been a major improvement uniting the two buildings by more than a bridge. The congregation is almost 200 years old.
Many people sat at tables during coffee hour and talked a long while after the liturgy. A number of them introduced themselves to me. Some wore nametags. There is a four sided stand which contains nametags for everyone. This is a large congregation - at least by our standards. And a friendly one.
The website for St Pauls's is here. There are photos of the windows here as well as lots of other church pictures. I can't find a history of the church on their blog. It is interesting. Go and ask.
The kneelers at the altar are lovely. Each has a patch saying who did it and the back edge has the name of the people to whom each is dedicated.
There are four sides to this nametag kiosk. This is a large congregation. And the building is just the right size for them.
The Ohio church people have been much friendlier overall than Pennsylvania people. I'm not surprised. In my moving back and forth I've found that true in general. It starts at the border. I used to describe it by saying Ohioans care more about how much money you have while Pennsylvanians care who your family is. Pennsylvanians seem more reserved. While the two Ohio churches are in areas which have much larger populations than we do, they just feel healthier, more relaxed, more active. I'll return to both eventually.