This past weekend I visited United University Methodist Church. This was a very different experience for me based on what I am used too. In my past church experiences, as a child, I went to a separate building during mass and attended Sunday school. At this church, at the beginning of mass, they had the children in the room come up to the front and they were read a children’s book about Moses by one of the leaders. Everyone who was sitting in the pews listened to the story as well. While watching this encounter, I realized how close everyone in the church was. It is a fairly small church, and the mass is focused on fostering the community and experiencing Jesus and God together. This sense of community was very striking to me. I could tell that everyone there was very close to each other and cared deeply about each other.
Another difference between my past experiences and this church was the emphasis on song that was placed here. In the shelves, on the pews, there were only hymnals at this church, while my church of childhood had both a hymnal and a bible. This difference may be small, but during the service, there were more songs that were sung than I was expecting. The people at the church were using the songs as a way to connect with God and Jesus in a way that I haven’t seen before. In my old church, song was a very serious thing that happened less. Here, people were more casual about it and it was more often.
This was a new experience that showed me how different churches can differ. The way I was raised religiously means that I haven’t been able to experience differences in churches, and learning about the differences in class is very different than seeing happen in front of me. This was a very educational experience for me that I am glad I was able to experience.