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Recently I was educated that Lutherans have liturgy and Eucharist in their services (thank you Beach and Curly). Seems I was equating mainline Protestantism with fundamental/legalistic and Evangelical Protestantism. (That's what you get being raised basically JW and LDS = No theological education. :rolleyes: ) Growing up, I never knew that any faith outside of Catholicism had liturgy or Communion or the Trinity, etc ... I always assumed that Lutherans or Methodists were like JW's or Evangelicals or Baptists.

 

So anyway, in reading over at beliefnet on the Traditional Christianity boards, I learned a bit about Lutherans, Episcopalians, Catholics and Orthodox Christians and how they all fit (sorta) into a category called "Traditional" (as opposed to Evangelical/Fundemental). I understand that Methodists and Presbyterians fit in here as well.

 

Can anybody nutshell the basic differences between them? I'd ask over there, but I know you guys better. :D I know it's a huge question, but can anybody help?

 

Thanks a bunch!

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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1. I'd recommend exploring the helpful info found at www.beliefnet.com

 

2. Here's a few things to share - in MY opinion:

 

* Lutherans have a lot more in common with Catholics (and visa versa) than either of them care to admit. They both emphasize the importance of the sacraments -esp. Holy communion which they both celebrate/include at all worship services.

They both perform infant baptisms and have an episcopal form of polity (church governance and how clergy are appointed).

The Lutherans (like all Protestant Chuches) only have 2 sacraments whereas the Catholics have 7 (as do the Mormons, but that's another bag of worms)

Lutherans (like most mainline Protestant Churches) also allow their male pastors to be married. The ELCA (most liberal branch) also ordains women.

 

* Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists each perform infant baptisms and they each utilize the episicopal form of church polity. Most ordain women and all allow pastors to be married. Episcopalians tend to be "high church" like the Lutherans and Catholics in that they celebrate Holy Communion at every worship service. They (like the Lutherans and Catholics) also tend to preach shorter sermons than the Methodists or Presbyterians do - this is linked to the fact that the Presbyterians and Methodists tend to only celebrate Communion once a month and thus, they have longer sermons.

 

A minor difference between mainline denominiations is that the UCC and the Presbyterians tend to say "debts and debtors" in the Lord's Prayer whereas the Methodists and Baptists tend to say "treaspasses"..

 

Each of the groups mentioned thus far baptize infants as the norm whereas the Baptists only perform "believers baptisms" (and yet the age of "consent" may be as low as 7 years of age- so its practically a moot point as a 7 year old's understaning of sin isn't much different than an infants (IMO).

 

Baptists, UCC, and Presbyterians have a "congregational" form of polity; i.e. local congregations hire anf fire their pastors instead of having them appointed to them via Bishops (episcopal polity).

 

I don't wish to be go too much deeper with this as I fear I'd end up painting with too broad a brush. Each of those denominations has various subsets (synods, etc). and some are more liberal or conservative than others.

 

Hope this helps!

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I visited several different churches in my area and there really is no substitute for personally visiting each church. That will tell you more than anybody's personal opinion or any web page can convey. I found that just walking into a church I could pick up the spirit of the group. It is quite the experience. I know that might be scary or uncomfortable for some, but it really isn't all that difficult. Churches do try to make it easy for newbies to come to the service and be able to follow along.

 

Here's what I did:

I got a list of Protestant churches from religioustolerance.org ranging from conservative to liberal and started with the most liberal.

I compared that with a phonebook church listing and then checked the internet to see if the church had a website. The church websites will usually give you the time of the Sunday service and more. I also drove by the place ahead of time.

 

Think of it as an adventure. :)

No, I never found a church, but I learned a lot in the process.

 

Conservative to Liberal List of Churches:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_divi3.htm

 

Assemblies of God (the most conservative)

Seventh-Day Adventist

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons)

Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

Church of the Nazarene

Southern Baptist Convention

Churches of Christ

Presbyterian Church in the United States *

American Baptist Churches in the USA

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America *

United Methodist Church

Episcopal Church

United Church of Christ. (the most liberal)

 

Note the differences:

Southern Baptist is more conservative than American Baptist.

Missouri Synod Lutheran is more conservative than ELCA.

Presbyterian vs United Presbyterian.

Churches of Christ vs United Church of Christ.

 

The word "Evangelical" in ELCA is misleading if you ask me as that has the more liberal Lutheran churches. In the phonebook, the Evangelical churches are a separate listing and not under the Lutheran section at all.

 

Unitarian Universalist may or may not be Christian.

Quakers might be a liberal group to try too.

 

More Links:

 

Conservative & Liberal "Wings" In Protestant Christianity:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_divi.htm

 

Families of Christian Denominations in North America:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_deno.htm

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Thanks guys (so far, as I hope more chime in).

 

I've actually been to beliefnet BroRog, which is what prompted me to decide to ask questions here. :D

 

What I'm wondering are some of the differences as to what might make someone decide to be a Lutheran instead of an Episcopalian. Or Presbyterian instead of Methodist. My questions are basically academic.

 

So so far I understand (in GENERAL):

 

Lutherans, Episcopalians, Catholics and Methodists perform infant baptism. Do Presbyterians?

 

Catholics, Lutherans and Episcopalians have Communion at each service. Methodists and Presbyterians once a month.

 

Lutherans have 2 sacraments. Catholics have 7 sacraments. What about Episcopalians, Methodists and Presbyterians? Any at all?

 

Lutherans, Episcopalians and Methodists ordain women. Do Presbyterians or Orthodox?

 

Catholics and Episcopalians have a "top down" organizational structure. Prebyterians are congregationalist. What about Lutherans, Methodists or Orthodox?

 

Is the UCC Methodist?

 

I know Evangelical Christians are into endtimes stuff and have different views on the tribulation and rapture, etc. Catholics seem to be concerned with the "end of days" stuff too. Are the other traditional groups focused on this aspect of theology as well?

 

I'm asking out of basic curiousity of doctrinal or traditional differences (like the creeds) between these groups. Thought it might be a fun thread. This is not born out of an "us versus them" attitude that I have. I'm just learning.

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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RE:

Lutherans, Episcopalians, Catholics and Methodists perform infant baptism. Do Presbyterians?

Yes

Catholics, Lutherans and Episcopalians have Communion at each service. Methodists and Presbyterians once a month.

However, certain Methodist and Presb. congregations may elect/opt to have communion at a given Sunday worship service every week.

 

Lutherans have 2 sacraments. Catholics have 7 sacraments. What about Episcopalians, Methodists and Presbyterians? Any at all?

Yes, All Protestant Churches have 2 sacraments; i.e. "the two that Jesus engaged in Himself" Baptism and Communion.

 

Lutherans, Episcopalians and Methodists ordain women. Do Presbyterians or Orthodox? PCUSA does, conservative Presbys may not. Orthodox notCatholics and Episcopalians have a "top down" organizational structure. Prebyterians are congregationalist. What about Lutherans, Methodists or Orthodox?

 

Is the UCC Methodist? No, United Church of Christ (formerly Congrgationalists)

I know Evangelical Christians are into endtimes stuff and have different views on the tribulation and rapture, etc. Catholics seem to be concerned with the "end of days" stuff too. Are the other traditional groups focused on this aspect of theology as well? Most Methodists and Catholics are amillenialistic, though many congregants have bought into the Left Behind book series craze

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Oops, I forgot one of your questions:

Catholics and Episcopalians have a "top down" organizational structure. Prebyterians are congregationalist. What about Lutherans, Methodists or Orthodox?

The Lutherans are generally considered to have an episcopal form of church polity, as are the United Methodists. This said, both of these groups have democratic conventions/conferences in which the voice and vote of the laity is highly influential. But, ultimately, it is bishops who actually appiont clergy to congregations. As far as I know, the Eastern Orthodox Churches have an episcopal/top down polity and structure.

 

----

 

Other things to share are that pastors/preachers in the Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Methodist, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, and American Baptist Churches are more likely to utilize the lectionary readings of the Bible as the basis of their sermons than are preachers in Southern Baptist, fundamentalist, or independent churches.

 

Moreover the same can be said about how those churches tend to interpret the Bible; i.e. that first grouping of denominations is more likely to interpret the Bible in a non-literal manner than are the Southern Baptists, fundamentalists, and independent churches.

 

Finally, the Southern Baptists, fundamentalists, and independent churches are more likely to pour lots of intentional energy and money into evangelism than are than that larger listing of mainline denominations - again, in my experience and in my opinion.

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Here is a statement from beliefnet that has me a bit confused. I'm probably not understanding it is my guess. How would you guys interpret this statement:

 

"It's the Holy Spirit that's created their saving faith...not their own cleverness or zealousness or willpower."

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Yeah, the religious tolerance netowrk DOES DO na EXCELLENT job of explaing all these faith groups, so much so I added there guild onto my Progressive XJW webpage. I was educated on this cause my mother was devote Luthern before she became JW and before she was Luthern she was raised in the United Brthern church, which, oddly enough merged into the United Methodist Church like in 1961. This is an very odd fact cause United Brthern was VERY fundamental and yet UMC is NOT.

 

Basically, from what i have gathered...

 

1. Catholic, Luthern and Episcopalain are the most ritualistic in nature..they all have the robes, alter boys type thing, light candles and do communion every sunday and they recite prayer book type chants..thus is why many former Catholics who grow up and become liberal-minded find it easy to join a liberal Episcopalian church.

 

2. Second down the chain...would be...

 

Disciples of Christ, and United Church of Christ and United Methodists,

 

In these there usually are no robes and only the first 2 do communion every Sunday, while UMC does not, they have some candles and still have come prayer books but are far less ritualistic based.

 

3. Then other faith groups like JW's and more modern day non-denominational protestant churches have no robes or rituals at all and do not belive in reciting prayer books or having candles or robes or any rituals.

 

4. There are the chrasimatic churches which are like

 

The Penacostal church/Asselmbly of God

 

Church of the Narzerean

 

FourSquare Gospel

 

Church of God In christ

 

Vineyard Christian fellowship

 

Calvary Chapel

 

* 4Square, Vineyard and Calvary are like Pentacostal lite.

 

Aposticalteltic Assmeblia

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Other things to share are that pastors/preachers in the Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Methodist, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, and American Baptist Churches are more likely to utilize the lectionary readings of the Bible as the basis of their sermons than are preachers in Southern Baptist, fundamentalist, or independent churches.

 

Moreover the same can be said about how those churches tend to interpret the Bible; i.e. that first grouping of denominations is more likely to interpret the Bible in a non-literal manner than are the Southern Baptists, fundamentalists, and independent churches.

 

Finally, the Southern Baptists, fundamentalists, and independent churches are more likely to pour lots of intentional energy and money into evangelism than are than that larger listing of mainline denominations - again, in my experience and in my opinion.

The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and related Reformed Presbyterian denominations would fit into the 2nd group. As well as the Reformed Episcopalian denominations. (Their "literal" interpretation of the Bible may be better termed "traditional", but yes they probably don't openly evangelize as much as the other members of the 2nd group.)

 

Here is a statement from beliefnet that has me a bit confused. I'm probably not understanding it is my guess. How would you guys interpret this statement:

 

"It's the Holy Spirit that's created their saving faith...not their own cleverness or zealousness or willpower."

They are probably Calvinist.

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Here is something from McLaren's book "Generous Orthodoxy". It made me smile.

 

"Every denomination is liturgical. Some just don't know it because their liturgies aren't written down. For example, a seemingly free-form Pentecostal revival actually has a certain expected rythm to which some deviations are perhaps allowed, but others are not.

 

"If you've been to a lot of Protestant meetings that claim to be nonliturgical, eschewing written prayers for "heartfelt" (ie spontaneous) ones, you soon begin to realize (pardon my cynicism) 'The Lord, Father-God, is just so good, Father-God, and it's just so great just to praise his mighty and wonderful name, Father-God, glory, hallelujah, and we're just so blessed just to be here, Father-God, hallelujah, just rejoicing in his holy presence, hallelujah, and if I just hear the word just one more time, and if I just hear just one more religious cliche pasted to others in a long cliche train, I'm going to ruin this whole so-called spontaneous, heartfelt experience by screaming!'

 

"To have some gifted people (like the Anglicans' Thomas Cranmer or the many gifted Catholic liturgists) save us from our habitual "justs" and "spontaneous" cliches with well-chosen words, well-crafted sentences and well-thought-out paragraphs is a great gift of liturgy.

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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>Yeah, the religious tolerance netowrk DOES DO na EXCELLENT job of explaing all these

 

Yes, I very much like their use of non-judgemental language, even on belief systems that I don't agree with. I also like their non-use of terms like "cult".

 

1. Catholic, Luthern and Episcopalain are the most ritualistic in nature..they all have the robes, alter boys type thing, light candles and do communion every sunday and they recite

2. Second down the chain...would be...

 

>Disciples of Christ, and United Church of Christ and United Methodists,

In these there usually are no robes and only the first 2 do communion every Sunday, while UMC does not, they have some candles and still have come prayer books but are far less ritualistic based.

 

Uh, well UCC does use robes. (At least the ones I have gone to, lights candles, etc. Communion is once a month, except during Easter where there a couple extra communion services.). We don't use prayer books. I think bulletins have kind of taken the place of these. In fact, I visited my mom's conservative Presby church. The service was very similar and the pastor wore a suit. Actually it was a bit *less* ritualistic than our church. I was kind of surprised at this. I think there is some increase in ritualism as a result of congregants desire for this...

 

> Then other faith groups like JW's and more modern day non-denominational protestant churches have no robes or rituals at all and do not belive in reciting prayer books or having candles or robes or any rituals.

 

 

Very similar to CS btw. No candles, no prayer books, no robes, no communion, no baptism (adult or child), etc.

 

I think BroRog laid out some of the key differences pretty nicely.

 

 

--des

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Lutherans, Episcopalians, Catholics and Methodists perform infant baptism. Do Presbyterians?

 

Catholics, Lutherans and Episcopalians have Communion at each service. Methodists and Presbyterians once a month.

 

Lutherans have 2 sacraments. Catholics have 7 sacraments. What about Episcopalians, Methodists and Presbyterians? Any at all?

 

Lutherans, Episcopalians and Methodists ordain women. Do Presbyterians or Orthodox?

 

Catholics and Episcopalians have a "top down" organizational structure. Prebyterians are congregationalist. What about Lutherans, Methodists or Orthodox?

 

Is the UCC Methodist?

 

I know Evangelical Christians are into endtimes stuff and have different views on the tribulation and rapture, etc. Catholics seem to be concerned with the "end of days" stuff too. Are the other traditional groups focused on this aspect of theology as well?

 

I'm asking out of basic curiousity of doctrinal or traditional differences (like the creeds) between these groups. Thought it might be a fun thread. This is not born out of an "us versus them" attitude that I have. I'm just learning.

 

Lots of good answers, but a few points I'd like to add

 

Many denominations have evangelical branches... this does not mean the above, but means that they take The Great Commission (to spread the Good News) as the primary duty of the church. Good works, etc are fruit of the faith, but are secondary to spreading the good news. The media has redefined evangelical.... don't buy in!!! :)

 

It is interesting from an intellectual standpoint. If you're looking for a church, however, I'd say that 80-90 %of the people in the pews don't know the doctrine of their denomination.... find one that feeds you; that you feel good about supporting. The name on the door, when it comes down to it, doesn't mean much in terms of consistency, beliefs, works, etc. We all love the same Jesus :) .

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I was raised Lutheran--baptized, confirmed there.

 

A Lutheran service is more like a Presbyterian or a

United Church of Christ service. Not at all like Catholics

or Episcopalians. A liturgy is not a big ritualistic thing.

It's just some simple words said or sung by the pastor

and then the congregation responds. Not a biggie.

 

The bulletin is the print out of the service so you know

what songs they will sing, etc. and can follow along and

participate as you feel comfortable doing.

 

Lutherans have communion once a month.

Episcopalians call it the Eucharist and have it every service.

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> A liturgy is not a big ritualistic thing.

It's just some simple words said or sung by the pastor

and then the congregation responds. Not a biggie.

 

In the UCC church back in ILL, they had lay liturgists. It was a very neat thing.

They usually gave short comments on what the Bible readings meant to them, or some other relevant comments. They also participated in doing communion. (I think I never did that as, well "short" is not exactly my forte. :-))

 

>The bulletin is the print out of the service so you know

what songs they will sing, etc. and can follow along and

participate as you feel comfortable doing.

 

I think it has taken the place of a prayer book in some congregations. There are often prayers (usually responsive reading type prayers); statements of confession (not as in the Catholic church more general than that); things to ponder; that sort of thing. If there is a baptism, ordination, installation, welcome of new members, etc. the words are all written out there. (I noticed a lot of these in the back of the hymnal*, but we don't use these.) As well as the order of the service. I've seen them in all flavors and denominations (from conservative to progressive) of Christian churches so I am guessing they are pretty common, if not quite universal.

 

*BTW, I noticed all sorts of stuff in the back of the hymnal that we never have used--- things like chants; all the Psalms; etc. I'm assuming it is set up to be used as a prayer book if desired.

 

 

--des

Edited by des
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Have ya ever been to the ship of fools website?

 

It's a fun place to visit. They have a mystery worshipper section where people write about their church experiences.

 

You can sort it by just USA churches.

 

Check out their discussion forum too. They have funny names for their discussion areas. Like one area is called "Hell - asbestos underwear recommended."

 

des - Hymnals are interesting to look through! I have a Lutheran hymnal. Lots of stuff in there. Sometimes hymnals can be found for pennies at second hand stores, used book stores, garage sales, etc. Bibles too.

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Many denominations have evangelical branches... this does not mean the above, but means that they take The Great Commission (to spread the Good News) as the primary duty of the church. Good works, etc are fruit of the faith, but are secondary to spreading the good news. The media has redefined evangelical.... don't buy in!!!

 

LOL Cynthia. I sure as heck don't buy in to media definitions. :lol: There is however, a difference between Evangelicals (with a capital E) and evangelicals (with a little e). When I referenced Evangelicals it was the capital E kind, but still wasn't meant in a disparaging way. Some of my favorite authors consider themselves Evangelical with a capital E.

 

I asked the "end times" question because from reading over at beliefnet, the "traditional" Christians don't really worry about this or discuss this (which I like), but the "born again/Evangelical" Christians do have it as a major part of their doctrine (the rapture, pre, post, and amillenial, etc etc etc).

 

It is interesting from an intellectual standpoint. If you're looking for a church, however, I'd say that 80-90 %of the people in the pews don't know the doctrine of their denomination.... find one that feeds you; that you feel good about supporting. The name on the door, when it comes down to it, doesn't mean much in terms of consistency, beliefs, works, etc. We all love the same Jesus  .

 

This is all from an academic, intellectual standpoint. I grew up never hearing words (in theological context) like Trinity, rapture, evangelical, fundamental, TULIP, Wesleyan, Calvin, pre-trib/post-trib, bulletin, hymnal, traditional, deterministic, preterist, orthodox, conservative, liberal, liturgical, mystical ... and about a 1000 other words or phrases that I can't think of right now.

 

I read books and they use words like they think EVERY Christian should know what they mean and my guess is that most do. But not born and raised Mormons or JW's man. We're deprived. :P

 

I'm not looking for a church. When I'm ready to go, I'll pick one and go. Right now I'm happy in my garden.

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In the UCC church back in ILL, they had lay liturgists. It was a very neat thing.

They usually gave short comments on what the Bible readings meant to them, or some other relevant comments. They also participated in doing communion.

 

We have Lay Eucharistic Ministers (LEMs) and Lay readers in our Episcopal Church. The LEMs do not administer the sacrament of the bread, but they do offer the chalice, and they help the Rector with the eucharistic part of the liturgy.

 

Lay readers come to the front and read the scripture appointed for that day. There are usually three readings (OT, NT and Gospel) so there can be as many as three readers.

 

I agree with the suggestion that anyone who is interested in learning would probably be well advised to visit the churches in their area and get a sense of what it really feels like to be there and participate.

 

The liturgy in our church has a well structured form; some might call this "high church" and that term by itself might put people off. Let me tell you, historically I'm not big on "structured" anything, and have always taken a rather free-from approach to spiritual matters.

 

However, this church makes it very easy for new people to participate, and I've always felt that the liturgy in this particular church is very much alive. This may be due to the fact that we have a very gifted Rector (imo) or it may be due to the fact that the congregation is unusually attentive/involved, I don't know, but the energy is good. It has never felt stodgy or sale or authoritarian; it has always seemed heartfelt and sincere. I suspect that the community of worship, in its entirety, is what breathes life into the liturgy (or doesn't, as the case may be). The litugical form is simply there so that the community has some common means of expressing worship together.

Edited by Lolly
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I heard the term "Bulletin" for the first time yesterday in reference to Lutheran liturgy and worship.

 

What the heck is a bulletin?  :huh:

 

 

Well, it's like the written review at the JW K.Hall...accept it only has like 10 blank spaces to fill in instead of like 40 to 100. It also contains a basic online of the pastor sermon for that day, as well as annoucements such as church events coming up.

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I heard the term "Bulletin" for the first time yesterday in reference to Lutheran liturgy and worship.

 

What the heck is a bulletin?  :huh:

 

 

Well, it's like the written review at the JW K.Hall...accept it only has like 10 blank spaces to fill in instead of like 40 to 100. It also contains a basic online of the pastor sermon for that day, as well as annoucements such as church events coming up.

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I imagine that the first church I'll go to, when I get around to it :rolleyes: , will be Episcopalian. However, church shopping is not why I'm asking these questions.

 

Here's another question:

 

What's "Decision Theology"? I can google it. I just wondered if anyone here knows off the top of their head?

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Lolly:

We have Lay Eucharistic Ministers (LEMs) and Lay readers in our Episcopal Church. The LEMs do not administer the sacrament of the bread, but they do offer the chalice, and they help the Rector with the eucharistic part of the liturgy.

 

 

We also have these in NM. This was much more involvement by lay people-- actually giving a "sermon". Made the service kind of long though. The NM UCC church I go to has two readers that change every week (there is a sign up sheet). Ushers help with communion, but don't actually read anything.

 

>I agree with the suggestion that anyone who is interested in learning would probably be well advised to visit the churches in their area and get a sense of what it really feels like to be there and participate.

 

The ship of fools website was lots of fun. Would be fun doing reviews as well.

 

 

>The liturgy in our church has a well structured form; some might call this "high church" and that term by itself might put people off. Let me tell you, historically I'm not big on "structured" anything, and have always taken a rather free-from approach to spiritual matters.

 

 

Yes I have heard "high church" described as things like vestments, candles, etc. so in that sense this UCC is high church. Of course there is high church and high church. I was amused to read someone's account of a UCC church somewhere where they had to practically break up "passing the peace". :-) In my mom's very formal church Presby church people just turn to each other and say "Good morning-- Peace of Christ". OTOH, I think we could use a whistle. :-)

 

BTW, it was lots of fun to read an account of the Crystal Cathedral. In "Stealing Jesus" there is an account of the Willowbrook megachurch. But the fun thing about the "Ship of fools" site is that the "reviews" of regular churches are as critical as the Crystal Cathedral. I did wish the people were a little matched to the churches though...

 

>However, this church makes it very easy for new people to participate, and I've always felt that the liturgy in this particular church is very much alive. This may be due to the fact that we have a very gifted Rector (imo) or it may be due to the fact that the congregation is unusually attentive/involved, I don't know, but the energy is good. It has never felt stodgy or sale or authoritarian; it has always seemed heartfelt and sincere. I suspect that the community of worship, in its entirety, is what breathes life into the liturgy (or doesn't, as the case may be). The litugical form is simply there so that the community has some common means of expressing worship together.

 

That's true. I don't dislike a formal service IF done well. IF done very badly though. (one amusing thing on the outline for ship of fools, "what things were most like heaven?" what things like the other place?" haha, I could answer that one on my own church. Other questions were distractions; how you were welcomed; etc.

 

 

--des

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RE: What's "Decision Theology"?

 

Essentially, it's what Billy Graham et al preach; i.e. that all humans need to be exposed to the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to make the decision to accept this unmerited gift of salvation that God intends for them or not. It's actually very Armininan (Wesleyan) IMO, but the Calvinists can claim it too - they just add the predeterministic caveat that "God knows in advance which persons will choose to accept the gift of salvation or not"... ; )

 

Re: "High Church, robes, bulletins, etc."

 

FYI, United Methodist congregations vary widely with some being more informal and "low church" and others being very formal and "high church." In my experience, the more rural congregations tend to be low church and the inner city "down town" churches tend to be high church. The suburban congregations are a mixed lot with many offering two types of worship services every Sunday; i.e. a traditional service complete with robes and the use of the organ and a contemporary service where the pastor doesn't wear a robe and the a contemporary praise band is employed.

 

Re: "Lay liturgists, lay pastors, etc."

 

United Methodists most always utilize lay people as liturgists in worship services (i.e. they lead things such as the Call to worship, innovcation/opening prayer, read the Scripture lessons, say prayers before and/or after the offering is taken, etc.). Typically the pastor preaches from the pulpit and the liturgist speaks from the lecturn. However, contemporary services may not use pulpits or lecturns at all.

 

Moreover, U.M.s often rely on the services of a pool of trained lay speakers to help fill in when pastors are ill or on vacation. And, lay pastors are employed to serve as the pastors of smaller congregations which cannot afford to pay for a fully ordained, seminary trained, elder to serve them.

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>FYI, United Methodist congregations vary widely with some being more informal and "low church" and others being very formal and "high church." In my experience, the more rural congregations tend to be low church and the inner city "down town" churches tend to be high church. The suburban congregations are a mixed lot with many offering two types of worship services every Sunday;

 

I suppose that is the pattern for many mainline churches, UCC included. OTOH, I don't know of a "rural" UCC church, I think it is a pretty urban (and suburban church). I believe UMC is rather older denomination, with many more rural, as well as southern churches. (Ours is very urban, btw. So urban that the city around it has somewhat left it.)

 

>Typically the pastor preaches from the pulpit and the liturgist speaks from the lecturn. However, contemporary services may not use pulpits or lecturns at all.

 

What about the pulpit really being a lecturn? I think that's what it is in our case.

 

BTW, BroRog, are you in an urban, suburban, or rural church?

 

--des

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