Monday, January 5, 2009

So a Mennonite is lost in the woods....

I went to RAMF yesterday. RAMF being the Rochester Area Mennonite Fellowship. It's a small Mennonite congregation located with biking distance of the house. The Missus had been looking into them for a few weeks and we decided to finally attend a service.

The church itself is small, just over a year old and still smells faintly of new paint and drywall. We arrived a few minutes before the service was supposed to begin and found the chapel empty with the exception of a gentlemen in his mid-thirties strumming a guitar. My bemused look must have been move visible then I had thought as he stopped playing and stepped into the narthex and said hello. We chatted for a moment then the Missus and I entered the chapel proper and found a seat. The chapel itself sits roughly sixty and by the time service started most seats were filled. Both the Missus and myself were greeted warmly by a fair number of he parishioners. I considered it to be a warm and welcoming atmosphere, the chapel itself was decorated, or more accurately, not decorated the walls were whitewashed drywall with light colored wood accents. No obvious iconography, Christian or otherwise, and I found it to be a very inviting space.

The service was lay led as are all their services. While some Mennonite churches have a full or part time minister RAMF is wholly lay led. This past Sundays speaker spoke on the Welcoming Face of God. It was a rather tame service, while there was some biblical references, no actual quoted scripture, I found the references unnecessary in terms of the message being conveyed. The sermon boiled down to a look at the home Jesus was raised in, and the advantages that lifestyle, the label of carpenter must have been in helping him connect with people. I found it an interesting take on the subject, I found the delivery to be average to good, and the singing quite good.

All in all I found the service itself to be a very comfortable. The Missus expressed a desire to return and I think I will as well. While I do not feel I'll ever self identify as a Mennonite I find them to be an interesting and wholly welcoming people.

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