|186: Broadway United Methodist, Chicago|
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Mystery Worshipper: Shy Town.
The church: Broadway United Methodist, Chicago, Illinois.
Denomination: United Methodist Church.
The building: Late 70s/early 80s earthtone carpeting, angular brick.
The neighbourhood: Densely settled urban Chicago neighborhood, affluent but not quite enough to be called yuppie.
The cast: Jenny Weber.
What was the name of the service?
How full was the building?
Twelve congregants in a sanctuary that could hold 200.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
No, there were no ushers. The bulletins were on a table outside the sanctuary. I had to help myself.
Was your pew comfortable?
The pew looked rough-hewn and forbidding but was actually quite comfortable.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Quiet and reverential, except for the family that barged in five minutes late and insisted on drawing attention to itself by overapologizing.
What were the exact opening words of the service?
What books did the congregation use during the service?
The United Methodist Hymnal. Also, the Order of Worship was one of the best I've ever seen.
What musical instruments were played?
Did anything distract you?
Everything was fine once the Bargers settled down.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Quite nice. Relaxed, but not to the point of overfamiliarity.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
7. This was a thoroughly Methodist sermon, almost stereotypically so: "Our outward actions don't mean much unless our inward actions agree with them." And, "God wants us to be in relationship with each other, not to fill up our empty lives with fancy cars and other material things." Her delivery was fluid but a bit newscasterish eyes up, eyes down, eyes up, eyes down...
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
The difficulties and rewards of living as covenant children of God.
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
There were so few of us that we could gather around the chalice and take communion by intinction. It was a wonderful, solemn moment.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Nothing was hellish.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
I was invited to coffee.
How would you describe the after-service coffee?
Hot coffee in styrofoam cups and danish.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
5. I was reared a Methodist, but some of their social stands and their institutional cruelty to gay people really turn me off. I enjoy visiting individual churches like this, but I don't want to support the UMC.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?