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My Visit to an Evangelical Quaker Church

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    jlilly
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    Hello Everyone.

    I, Just did a recent trip to Corona California and I decided to look for a local Quaker meetup. I went to google and typed in “Quaker Meeting Corona”and it gave me one result of http://www.coronafriendschurch.org/, and I noticed that it was an Evangelical friends Church and I had only been familiar with Unprogrammed Meetings so this was goign to be a little bit of an adventure. So here is a little run down of some of the notes that I took down during the service.

    The Church Service stated that it started at 10:00 AM, so I arrived a few minutes before that so I could get a lay of the land and a feel for the people at the meeting. Upon my arrival I was warmly greeted by door staff who handed me a church program, a piece of paper to write notes on and a New comer card, to fill out my information on so they will now that I attended. as I walked around the meeting area I noticed that it was a gymnasium floor with basketball hoops on either side, not a bad thing, as it gives the church area another purpose when people are not worshiping. As I continued to walk around, feeling a little uneasy as I always do when in an new environment, when people would make eye contact with me, they would greet me, tell me their name and shake my hand and off I was to walk around some more, I felt very welcomed.

    On the stage at the front of the church I could see a set of band equipment, I mean a real life band, it had a full drum set up with an acoustic shield, a Synthesizer, and a few guitars. And just to the left of the stage was a video screen with a count down which I noticed at the time said 2:19 and it continued to count down. right before it reached 0 the people began to take to their seats.

    The Service started promptly as the band came out and played two songs, the songs were up beat and wonderfully played, and passionately sung. The video screen that had the count down timer now listed the lyrics of the song, so you could sing along if you liked and some people did, a few of the church goers even had their hands outstretched. The songs were positive and up lifting and I even felt myself tapping my foot to the beat.

    After the two songs were finished a man plainly dressed in a pair of jeans, and a black colored T-shirt, came out and gave a brief morning prayer, asked if anyone had any tithes or blessings to come up front and drop them off, and they did a steady stream of people were walking to the front and placing their items in white paper into two boxes which were shaped like adobe buildings. I thought to myself, that this act of walking toward the front of the rest of the worshipers could be very stressful, as if you did not rise and deliver an envelope to the front them maybe you were not doing your part to the church. I quietly sat taking my notes, and I did not notice or expect any bad looks to come my way, and they did not.

    The band returned and played another 3 songs, like the first two that were played they were uplifting and easy to sing too and we not the normal hymn type songs you might listen to at a normal christian church. After the songs were played, we were given a short “Meet and Greet” time, we got up and walked around introduced ourselves, to the people next to us. After a few moments we were called to take our seats and we did.

    The pastor John Bos, came out, with a headset mic on which allowed him to talk at a comfortable level and for us all to hear him easily. Mr. Bos is a very charismatic man, with a short cut beard and nicely cut hair. His voice was pleasant and power full. Mr. Bos gave a sermon on “Faith or Presumption” He talked about how popular beliefs are not always the right beliefs, and not godly beliefs, and how sometimes people can use scripture, out of contexts to justify their beliefs or their actions and stating that it is Gods will to do these things. Now knowing that this was an Evangelical Friends Church I knew there would be a lot of differences, between it and the un-programmed meeting especially when he spoke of the usual christian teachings. that “Only through Jesus will you find Salvation”, “not all religions will get you to God and Heaven, their is only one way”. It was at this point, that I knew this type of meeting was not my cup of tea, I have been through this type before and have found, that it can alienate people, instead of bringing them together, Where in my general feelings and beliefs, and the way I have been guided by the light, has taught me that we are all part of God, we can all talk and have God in our lives, no matter if we face east and pray on a prayer rug, or sit quietly in a circle in meditation.

    After the Sermon was given, a prayer time was designated, people were also designated at some point before the service to assist with prayers for other. The group of 5 stood in front of the congregation and people would walk up to one of two of them and accept and assist with prayers with people. I liked the idea that there were people who could assist you with prayer, but again thought, the idea of coming to the front of the congregation could be stressful and seem to show piousness, as if you did not go up and offer a prayer that maybe you were not a good church goer. as referenced in Mathew 6:6

    When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6″But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 7″And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.…
    The band continued to play a soft music while the prayer session went on.

    After all was done, the Pastor, Mr. Bos walked right up to me, shook my hand and greeted me. I introduced myself, and that I attend the un-programmed meeting in Las Vegas. and informed him that I have never attended an evangelical Meeting before and that their was a bit of a difference between the two. He acknowledge, that was a the case and then broke away from me and continued to greet others.

    Once we were released I headed toward the door with my new comer card, filled out and ready to be given to someone, but I could not tell where, or whom I should drop it off to, so unfortunately, i ended up taking it home with me.

    It was and was not what I expected it to be, If i would have talked to someone and said I was a Quaker and that they could attend this church to find out more about it. I do not think they would get the same message as me.

    I am in no way saying that it is a bad church, just that it isn’t for me. Everything up to the Sermon I felt good and positive about. But the sermon, just reminded me to much of the traditional christian churches, I had attended in the past and did not make me feel good about myself.

    I will continue to seek other Friends Meetings as I travel and try to give my account as I can. I hope you found this post helpful, and as always I love to get comment and for positive criticism.

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