At this point, this wll be the last of a series of blog posts about Anchorage Protestant church offerings of evening services, Saturday or Sunday, with the same message format of normal Sunday services. Some worshipers find it necessary to attend at these times but still desire to be spiritually fed the same as other worshipers, only at a later hour.
To date, I’ve written of three other churches offering this format: Faith Christian Community, Trinity Presbyterian, and ChangePoint. Last week I attended St. John United Methodist’s Sunday evening service and am pleased to add it to this list of options. St. John’s 6:30 p.m. Sunday evening service complements their 8:15, 9:30, and 11:00 a.m. services. Lightly attended, it nevertheless offers a wonderful opportunity to worship, but in a more casual form.[img_assist|nid=143919|title=St. John UMC Evening Praise Group|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=298]
My September 27 visit found me singing praises with a group of approximately 35 people. The contemporaneous praise group of six, accompanied by flute, mandolin, and percussion, led those assembled through several simple, though touching renditions of Christian melodies. I was deeply affected by their acapella rendering of “Send Me Lord (Thuma Mina)” during the offering. Clearly augmenting worship rather than entertaining, this group was wonderful.
St. John has acquired an exceptional interim senior Pastor, John Dodson. He is providing leadership during the replacement process for Pastor Dave Beckett who accepted the call to become the Methodist conference Superintendent for Alaska. This evening Pastor Dodson provided an exceptional extemporaneous sermon using the story from John of Jesus’ changing the water to wine at Cana as his basis. I was also pleased to discover St. John, true to it’s special needs mission as previously reported, opening it’s arms to several special needs individuals during this service.
What I Liked
*service was slightly shorter (45 min vs. normal 1 hour)
*tonights topic was relevant – a fresh look at John’s gospel
*worshipful and relevant music by their praise group
*a worshipful audience of 35 people
*Pastor Dodson’s lively, extemporaneous style
*acceptance of the special needs individuals
What I Disliked
*offering did not except visitors
*more people not taking advantage of this great service format
I recommend this service highly. Along with others, I’ve come to know St. John UMC as a friendly, and dependable Anchorage church.