Choosing our church

 

So we arrived in Denver with no church to go to. This needed rectifying. Fortunately Beth waited until I arrived so that we could make the decision together. So over five Sundays we tried four different churches. Two of these were Methodist, one was Presbyterian and one was Anglican. So, all were my non-happy-clappy style of worship.

We started off at Wellspring which is an Anglican church  which is part of the Rwandan mission to America, and about 15 minutes’ drive from Casa de Blomberg. I was rather jet lagged as I had landed only the previous day and while the worship band isn’t something I’m accustomed to, they did a decent job. I still get a little annoyed when there is a different tune to the one I am used to but I am just difficult like that. The two best things about the church were the sermon, which was part of a series working through the beatitudes and was one of the best sermons I have ever heard and the chairs… which after a flight were very nice and comfortable, thank you very much.

After the service people were friendly and I got to chat to a lot of Broncos fans. I also got on well with a couple from seminary that Beth knew, we went out to a waffle place in downtown Denver and it was a nice way to feel like we fit in.

The following week we went to St Andrews Methodist Church which is just over a mile from the Blombergs’. This should have been in my comfort zone, being Methodist and all, but it wasn’t really. The church was too big, for one thing. The sanctuary was spread very wide and thin. There was a choir which was nice. Between us signing in as guests and leaving the service they had put together a welcome pack with directions to our house stapled to it and a loaf of bread inside. That’s neat… but a little creepy. The service itself was good with a strong sermon, not as good as the prior week but still good enough to keep me interested. Music came both from the choir and an organ as well and was good. There was also a fantastic view from the church of the mountain range. It was a nice church but a little too big and scary for my liking. It also has a giving kiosk, which is an credit card machine in the lobby for your donations…

Week three we headed to another Methodist Church, this time Trinity in Central Denver. Due to its location it was never seriously in the running for our church pick but I had enjoyed a previous service there so it was nice to visit again. Trinity is the oldest church in Denver (despite only being founded in 1859) and has a nice atmosphere to it. Trinity also had a choir and looks more like the Methodist churches that I am used to from the inside. The music came from their big old organ and was nice. We also got to talk to the preacher who was friendly. As I said, distance was a bit of a problem. We took the lightrail (Denver’s interconnecting train network) downtown which took about 30 minutes and then walked to the church another five away. Not too bad but not something for every week, if we wanted to feel like we never left England this would be the Methodist Church for us.

Finally we went to Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church about 25 minutes East of the Blombergs’. This church has a rather large plot with half as the sanctuary and half as teaching rooms. We arrived early and went to the young adults’ class. It was very enjoyable and we met some lovely people. It was also well structured by the girl who was running it and had a similar vibe to an Ichthus meeting. After the class we went to the sanctuary for the service. I was surprised having seen the size from the outside that there weren’t hundreds of chairs inside and that the alignment of the chairs was odd. The various sections of the congregation were not focused on a central point as you might expect but instead we were looking at the worship band and not the preacher directly. This detracted from my focus on the worship. The service was nice enough, I will admit to checking the time a little as we were heading to the Broncos shortly after but I still enjoyed it. In the end though it would have been the class and not the worship (with a band including a banjo) that would have swung it for us.

So there we are, four churches. I decided that we should try Wellspring again, to see if the sermon could match the first and to also make sure that it wasn’t jet lag talking to make me like the church. It turned out that my initial thoughts hit the mark, the second sermon was close to the first in quality and the worship was very pleasant so after a short chat Beth and I decided that it would be our church.

Saturday night we went to a young adults group run by some 20-somethings from wellspring. We had a good time and got to meet a lot of other people who have come to the church in the last six months. It was a nice way to get to know people our age and feel justified in our decision.

Then on Friday we went to a mosque with some Denver Seminary students. I couldn’t convince Beth to become a Muslim, so Wellspring it is. Seriously though, it was a very different experience and I was surprised by how close the religion is to Christianity on a lot of subjects. I am glad I got to try a service there and thank both the mosque and Denver Seminary for the opportunity.

  • Roy Irons

    Your consumer’s guide to some of the churches in Denver was very interesting. In my experience US churches especially in the South are not only creepy but scary. Did you find out why they had produced a map to your house and given you a loaf of bread?
    Perhaps you could expand your survey and produce a Brit’s rough guide to Mid West churches.

  • Kaye Merrywest

    Hi Jonathan,
    Among the many gifts that we were given when visiting churches in the US was bread, and we were told that it is the for the sharing of bread from the Last Supper. We have also been given cake and flowers (both real and artificial). I am glad that you have found a church where you will be happy…. some of the large churches can be very scary!!