Church #45, Powerhouse City of Deliverance, part one

Date: 11/17/13

Church name/type: Powerhouse City of Deliverance, Pentecostal

Pastor: Pastor Evan and Copastor Patterson

Style of worship: Loud fun music with lots of dancing and jumping. The sermon was interrupted by spontaneous song several times.

Overall Impression: actually I liked it

History in Brief:
This church was in neither the phone book or any websites I could find. Digging around online I did find a bit about the building’s history. It was originally the German Evangelical Protestant Church. At some point it was referred to as just Evangelical Protestant Church. (The sign outside still bears this name and old, incorrect times of worship.) Later it was used by a UCC group. Currently it is used by the Powerhouse group, which is Pentecostal.

I arrived at the time advertised on the sign; 10:30. Instead of a church service about to start I found people inside serving breakfast. They invited me to eat so I did. I took a seat and asked about church. I was told church starts at 11:30 with prayer and 12:00ish for the actual service and that breakfast is served to anyone who shows up between 9am and 11am. I had a bit of conversation with some ladies who were sitting around having breakfast. We spoke a bit about my project and they asked me what I was looking for and what I’d found. During the conversation I said that I was disappointed with some churches for failing to show me friendliness or take much notice of me at all. This was notably the case in my visit to the Catholic Church closest to my house. One of the women told me I shouldn’t look for friendliness per se because:
“You don’t know where they’re coming from or what they’ve got going on.” Which I think I can agree with in general. If someone is hurting I can’t expect friendliness to be the first thing on their mind. I don’t expect this would ever be true for an entire church, but I get what she was saying. The other woman (who turned out to the copastor) said we need to be the ones who reach out to others and make what God wants a reality.- “It’s all on us to show that love,” she told me.
I also talked for a few minutes with some guys who wandered in for breakfast. They were trying to decide what to do with their morning and whether to include church or not. They seemed nice. While I was there one woman I met offered first me and then the three guys help if we needed it. That’s a huge blanket statement to make and she did seem sincere. Clearly this church wants to be able to help others. One visit isn’t enough to tell me how much help this church is really able to give, but the free breakfast seems like a nice way to go.

Praise portion:
So the service starts with something a woman told me was “intercessory prayer”. Instead of a formal prayer this felt much more like a preparatory space cleansing. Church members walked up and down the aisles and sides and front of the church chanting words and phrases and sometimes clapping. Most of what they said was in English but I noticed some of it was in tongues. (Those unclear on tongues: it’s a spiritual language some Christian groups believe in. The words don’t mean anything in any earthly language and those unfamiliar with tongues may perceive it as gibberish.) The chanting went on for at least twenty minutes and sometime rose to a modest shout. I was unclear on whether the prayer was meant to be participatory for everyone so I stayed in my seat.
After a while the band started to strum a little and a group of people assembled up front began to sing. The instrumentation was drums, guitar and keyboard and the music…if music rocks do you call it rock? I’m not a genre expert but it was very intense. The first song was one I recognized, so I sang along. After this I was unfamiliar with the music, but I did some clapping.
The acoustics in the room were rather bad, giving the music a blurry quality. I had great difficulty understanding the words of songs I didn’t already know. Also the sound was cranked right up to eleven, so it permeated my entire body from all sides it seemed. I did enjoy the music, and being unable to hear the lyrics left me free to think whatever thoughts came to me. It was weirdly relaxing and I found myself wandering about a string of ideas regarding secular music, worship, prayer, and God’s existence.
The most unusual part was the frenzy of the worship team. They sang loudly when there were words and at other times danced; quite fast sometimes. The dance involved a lot of stomping and shaking. The floor was moving and everything was full of energy. One woman actually collapsed on the floor. This must happen occasionally because no one made a big deal about it and someone brought a white cloth and placed it around her.

Part two of this church description will be up next week.

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