Last week, everyone did their presentations on their congregation visits, and it was really interesting to see the differences among them. My partner and I attended a Catholic Church, and I would consider it highly ritualistic and formal, especially in comparison to some of the Protestant congregations the other groups visited. The traditional church we visited was a far cry from the more “secularized” churches which implement a concert-like feel. The social component seemed to be missing from the congregation we visited, and while there was a togetherness in the sense that everyone was there for one purpose, it was very individualistic. There was not a whole lot of mingling, and each individual was there simply to worship and pray. While the dress was less formal than I assumed it would be, it was definitely not as informal as some of the Protestant churches described, specifically the Priest’s dress. Not only is the Priest dressed formally, he wears symbolic vestments. When we went, it was green, which symbolizes the Spring season of rebirth and hope.
The Protestant Churches I attended as a child were, while similar in some respects, quite different from the Catholic one. The Pastor would often talk about his own life in relation to the Gospel, and that was absent in the Priest’s sermon. The churches were typically very small and everyone knew each other and lived in the same neighborhood. The biggest difference I noticed was Communion. Although a sacred event in the Christian Church, it is much less formal in the Protestant Church. I can remember a man simply bringing the plates around and handing each person a small cup of juice and a cracker. I’m looking forward to going to a sectarian congregation. It may be uncomfortable, but I’m excited to go and learn about another congregation, and see how it differs from those we’ve already learned about.