Church #56, St Timothy’s in North Greenbush

Date: 4/27/14

Church name/type: St Timothy’s Church, ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church America)

Pastor: Greg Tennerman

Style of worship: Parts of the service were organized into a particular order, but each portion was approached casually

Useful takeaways:
The entire service with hymnal page numbers and bible selections was printed on the church handout. There’s virtually no way to get lost and if you did, the pastor seems chill enough that it would be ok.

Another great thing, the seats are cushioned, with a rounded lower back. I’ve actually never seen seats like this. I don’t know if they work for everyone, but the little bit of low back support was really nice for me.

The sermon was about Doubting Thomas. It’s kind of tradition to tell this story on the Sunday following Easter because it’s the only story we are sure happened (first half anyway) on this Sunday. The interesting thing about the story is that Jesus appears to his frightened disciples and tells them to pick up where he left off. Then a week later they are still spending their day in a room with the doors locked! They haven’t gone out and taken a chance on Jesus’ words. They haven’t spread his news or healed anyone or helped the sick. This serves to remind us that the disciples are like us. We hesitate. What is it we are waiting to begin? What good thing should we be starting that we are not?

The last question the pastor posed was about signs of the resurrection. Of course we just had Easter and so the resurrection is still very close in terms of church calendar and in our minds. He gave some examples and told a few stories of miraculous (and possibly miraculous) occurrences. My favorite was the fish story. At one point the pastor owned a large fish tank with one little fish inside. One day, Good Friday no less, the fish went missing. Everyone assumed it managed to jump out of the tank and died. Come Easter morning, the fish was there swimming around like nothing happened! The question the pastor asked us was this: Is it proof of the resurrection for you? I love the open-endedness of this question. People see their faith very personally. And in different ways from each other. Of all the stories we hear, some speak to us and some don’t. Every person gets to decide what speaks to them. I like that.

Problems/Improvements: No one actually greeted me on their own before or after the service, although I did get a lot of smiles. It’s a little tough to say for sure how I might have been greeted had I not immediately tried to find my contact new friend Marilyn after service. The other unusual thing was the large number of visitors present for a baptism. Definitely not a typical week, so I guess I don’t really know if the greeting style needs work or not.

One other thing that is less a problem and more an unusual thing, is the building. It’s clean, painted and kept well, but not shaped much like a church. I thought it was an elementary school. I was going to park at the ‘school’ and examine my map program again to find the church when I realized I was at the church. Again not so much a problem per se but something to be aware of should you be having trouble finding it.