Reviews Archive

Serenity

These reviews of Sunday morning church services, wherever my travels take me, but mostly in Central Connecticut, are to be taken for what they are, reviews of a single church service. They make no claim to being definitive. They are just a one hour (or more) slice of congregational life. It would be unfair to extrapolate from any review an opinion about the breadth and depth of the church's ministry... except to suggest that every Sunday should be special, an Easter celebration actually, and it doesn't matter if it's in April or August. The reviewer is a retired United Methodist minister with fifty years minus one of experience creating and presenting worship services. His point of view, you will find, favors traditional ideas of worship which are to be informed and enriched with content that addresses the present moment. His musical tastes are "catholic," in the literal sense of that word, "inclusive." He has a particular concern that the church involve the coming generation in its worship: namely, making room for children in the sacred hour. His theological bent is neo-Orthodox; his mentors in the Christian faith, Jesus, Paul, Augustine, Luther, Wesley, Barth, and everyone else in church history who comprehends the primacy of the overwhelming and surprising grace of God. You will find, in these reviews, that there is in the Christian church, in its Mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic incarnations, a wonderful vitality, far from the sad state of worship anticipated when the idea of reviews was conceived. Many of the earlier reviews contain original drawings by artist Betsy Howard Carnes. Subsequent reviews include photos of the churches. If you wish to respond, rebut, correct, or otherwise take to task the reviewer, send your email.

A new disclaimer (May 5, 2009). Some of these reviews are now ancient history. As one recent respondent noted, the entire staff, save the music director, has been replaced since the review was posted. His point: the negatives are misleading. Granted. But the reviews never claimed to be anything more than one hour of worship in the life of a congregation... albeit the most important hour of the week. Therefore, when reading these reviews consider the date and make allowance for changes in the churche's rating... either way, up or down.

Ratings System

Rating:5.0 A transport to the throne of heaven
Rating:4.5 Faithful, equipping the soul and mind for a week of life and witness
Rating:4.0 Faithful, equipping the soul and mind for a week of life and witness
Rating:3.5 Faithful, with real possibilities for being a truly rewarding experience
Rating:3.0 Faithful, with real possibilities for being a truly rewarding experience
Rating:2.5 Faithful, but not particularly engaging
Rating:2.0 Faithful, but not particularly engaging
Rating:1.5 The hour would have been better spent reading the paper
Rating:1.0 The hour would have been better spent reading the paper