Saturday, August 16, 2008

Church Review: Reformed Church of Canberra

Another in my series on reviewing churches. The Reformed Church of Canberra is a gem. Perhaps in some ways one of the most friendly churches I have ever visited. I ask for the bus number that runs close to their church, they volunteer to have someone pick me up. I come as a visitor, they treat me like an honored guest. I come as a stranger not knowing anyone, I am celebrated as a brother in Christ from a far away land. After church meals are a big part of church life at the Reformed Church of Canberra, at least that is what it seemed to me. I was invited to the home of a warm couple in the church who also invited a family seven to their table. The conversation was lively and diverse. I can't say enough about the hospitality of the church, on a scale of 1 t0 10 with 10 being the best, they are a 10 on hospitality.

Pastor Peter led the worship service and preached in a compelling fashion. There was not a disconnect between the music and preaching, instead this was a worship service. While the service was quite formal, I also found it refreshingly, a spiritual time of meeting God instead of music set to re-enforce the preaching. There were responsive readings and prayers that felt appropriate to the worship atmosphere. There were a variety of passages read as the public reading of the Word of God, but the passages were not too long or short.

I was impressed with the way the Lord's Supper was conducted. Fencing the table was done before the worship service even officially began. An elder read an announcement about the seriousness of taking the sacrament and how one should not take it if he is not a believer. The pastor also explained their views on the subject to me before the worship service even began and made sure I knew that as a member of a sister denomination I was welcome. I think their up front fencing of the table actually made it easier to concentrate on the meaning of the Lord's Supper. I also enjoyed how those taking communion came forward to a table, sitting on both sides of it. There was more of a feel of a meal than something being done for us. We were participating there together. A Lord's Supper order of service was taken from a book used by the Christian Reformed Churches of Australia. I thought the use of the book helped guide the service.

The music of the worship service was hymns in style but metrical Psalms were a good number of the hymns we sang. I have not attended many churches which use metrical Psalms but the Reformed Church of Canberra does it well.

Over all, I was blessed by these brothers and sisters in the Lord.
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