This report is based on a visit to a Baptist church that I attended. The report focuses on the events that took place in the church during that visit and the observations regarding the nature of the surrounding environment. It explains in details the external features that surround the church compound, the hospitality of the people that I found there, the rituals observed by the members as well as the symbols, the service activities and the overall impression that I got of the church.
specifically for you
for only $16.05 $11/page
Environment of the church
The Baptist church is located on the outskirts of Beverly Hills city and I discovered that one is unlikely to see it from the main highway because it is located in between several commercial and residential buildings. If you are visiting it for the first time, you are likely to take time trying to locate it. The good thing about the church is that everyone is free to visit it at any time. The church is beautifully structured with an Arabic architectural design, marbled floor and tiled roofing; with the steps creating a spiral design to the entrance.
The compound is large and well maintained; with flower beds at the entrance and a green lawn for the rest of the compound. There is sufficient parking at the rear ends of both the right and the left sides of the compound. The compound creates the homely atmosphere that attracts all people from all backgrounds and even if the gates are well secured, the gate keeper permits everyone with good intentions in. Two tiled pavements lead to the front and side doors of the church and flowers are planted along these pavements to provide a beautiful scene.
Inside the church is an alter set with a wide range of flowers in vases. The inside of the church is as big as the outside and it hosts close to one thousand worshippers. The windows are decorated with floral graphics and are in different shades of colors that bring a rainbow of reflections during the day. The ceiling is high up the roof, with sections of it being made of clear glass for the purpose of lighting. Several fluorescent bulbs are located on the walls of the church, with beautiful bulb holders supporting them. With the many lighting bulbs put up, it is clear that the building would look as bright during the night as during the day.
Everyone there was dressed normally, except the ushers at the door, who were in uniformed black suits, white shirts and dark blue ties. The rest of the congregation was in semi-formal but decent clothes; with men wearing long or short-sleeved shirts and decent trousers and women wearing long or not so short skirts and dresses with decent blouses as well. There seemed to be no unique code of dressing for the congregation and only the preacher looked unique in his purple robe and a pastor’s tie.
The mode of welcoming people was very professional in the church. Once I approached the gate, I found an usher who greeted me and led me to the front door. I later learnt that those who had attended earlier were led through to the side door and as the church capacity increases, the ushers lead people to the first door to create order and prevent interruptions to those already seated. More ushers are found at the door and they warmly greet people as they get in and also show them the vacant seats to occupy.
On every bench, there are pamphlets that have a programme for the day’s activities and proceedings and this helped me to follow all that was going on. I was able to catch up on the sermon and the proceedings even if I had not arrived on time. This implies that even if I was attending the sermon alone, I would still feel included; the church is considerate of the visitors that may be present for the sermon and must give a programme of the day’s activities. On every bench also, were the church’s hymnal books that were to be used by those people who had no copies of their own. The two ladies who sat next to me were very friendly and they kept sharing their comments with me whenever the pastor encouraged active engagement or created a joke to break the silence.
100% original paper
on any topic
done in as little as
As a climax for the service, the pastor encourages people to form small groups for a few minutes to share any observations or ideas on a particular topic before the ceremony is concluded. This, as the pastor explained, is a way to enhance active participation in the service and to encourage interaction among the members. The people we formed the group with were interesting and very friendly and they were ready to share any information that I desired to know about the church.
Rituals and Symbols
I discovered that the pastor made his sermons bare-footed. Unlike in my catholic church where the priest delivers his sermon close to the people, the pastor in this church maintained his position at the alter, on which a pure white carpet was laid. As the service proceeded, the people in black suits put on white robes, removed their shoes and socks and then joined the pastor at the front. I later enquired about this ritual and learnt that the church regarded the alter a holy place and only the “anointed” people were allowed there. The place was to be symbolically kept clean and holy by staying bare-footed. The church did not use any symbols for their sermon, even the sign of the cross that we used in our catholic church.
During the communion, the people intending to receive it would go out of the church through the main door and then get in one at a time through the side door, as ushers take in their numbers. This made me feel an outsider and I felt the procedure did not include new members unless they identified themselves with the pastor or the ushers before the ceremony.
Before the pastor began his sermon, he started a prayer which then led into a spiritual song that was giving a message of hope to the distressed. The song led into yet another one that was also carrying the same message and I felt that it was appropriate because it was at a time when the country was experiencing a lot of political mayhem and most people had become desperate and lost hope. The two songs had been composed to pass a message of hope to all and since they were not in the hymnal books, they had been printed in the day’s pamphlets. Hence, they were easier to sing and understand and their message reached deep into my mind. I felt that they had been well composed.
I also came to learn that the church had a choir, which occupied the front benches in the church. During the sermon, the pastor would once in a while invite the choir to lead the church into a song. The choir perfectly and skillfully presented their songs and even if some of the songs were not familiar to me, I felt fulfilled by the way they were presented. I would say that the choir, starting with the soloist and the instrumentalist, had had a significant impact in driving the large number of people into the church. The manner in which the pastor broke the monologue by inviting the choir enhanced the spiritual fulfillment of the congregation. Any time the choir stood to sing, the people would join in with enthusiasm and prayers that followed the songs enabled me to reach deeper into my spiritual being.
Scriptures and Homily
The scriptures made were based on love. The homily perfectly quoted the different instances that the scripture emphasizes on love. The readings were well made and the homily was able to relate them to the events that were taking place in different parts of the country and this made it easy to understand them even without having to refer back to the Bible. The homily noted that if we continue to love, our love will flourish and we shall be able to love better. He emphasized on the need to love without limits and without expecting to be loved in return. This was something that directly touched my life because I did not believe in loving my enemies or those who do ill to me. I felt the message was directed to me and it enabled me to see a different perspective of loving.
The preaching was very inspiring; it was able to bring out the real aspect of the way people considered love and the way we are actually supposed to love. The homily quoted that we need to use our head and to use the reasoning to test our feelings so that the love that we have for other people is sincere and made with wisdom. I had taken love as an obvious feeling but I came to learn that it requires skill and greater understanding of it.
I would conclude that the church was very good; the sermons were interesting, the people welcoming and the organization perfect. If I got another chance, I would surely attend this service again. It is not many churches that give people the opportunity to interact in between the service session and unlike other churches, this church allowed active participation by the congregation. The congregation was moved by the service that I attended and this could be seen by their active response when the pastor was talking about loving other people with intelligence and without expecting to be loved in return. The homily had a way of ensuring that the message became clear to all.