Christ Anglican, Columbus, OH (Exterior)

Christ Church Anglican, Columbus, Ohio, USA


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Mystery Worshipper:
Church: Christ Church Anglican
Location: Columbus, Ohio, USA
Date of visit: Saturday, 28 February 2015, 5:00pm

The building

The large building in downtown Columbus is rather pretty if starkly plain. There is a prominent Trinitarian window at the east wall, which serves the parish as a logo. There is little color to the stained glass, and practically no images of humans or creatures. I found it familiar and alien at the same time. The stations of the cross are simple Roman numerals without any text or image. The font in the west of the church has six sides, representing the six days of creation. The white walls give a feel of much space and light in the church.

The church

Their website states that they are conveniently close to Ohio State University, but I saw no one who appeared to be associated with the college. Their website also mentions Sunday school but no other activities or outreaches. They celebrate traditional holy communion three Sundays each month, with the fourth Sunday given over to morning prayer. They also have a contemporary service each Saturday evening.

The neighborhood

Columbus, in central Ohio, is the state's capital and largest city. The church is in the Victorian Village neighborhood of Columbus. There are many fine examples of American Victorian architecture nearby. There are still some brick streets in the area. The neighborhood includes Goodale Park in the south and Thompson Park in the north. Ohio State University is, as mentioned, not far away.

The cast

The Revd Wale A. Fafiade was celebrant and preacher.

What was the name of the service?

Contemporary Service Holy Communion

How full was the building?

Ten people were present in a church that could have held a few hundred.

Did anyone welcome you personally?

Three people were in the narthex as we entered the building. They smiled and greeted us and gave us a service leaflet with the lessons and hymns.

Was your pew comfortable?

It was fine. I noticed that while there were fold-down kneelers there were also tall hassocks provided for the faithful.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?

Very quiet. I noticed no street noise. One woman on the other side of the aisle recognized that we were strangers and quietly let us know the service was found in a booklet in the pew rack.

What were the exact opening words of the service?

"I apologize for the late start."

What books did the congregation use during the service?

In the pews were the Book of Common Prayer (1928) and The Hymnal (1940), but we used mostly the booklet the helpful woman had told me about. This contained contemporary language version of sections from the 1928 BCP by the noted advocate of traditional Anglicanism, Peter Toon. I believe there were some typographical errors: for example, the text of the Nicene Creed stated that Jesus Christ "was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary" rather than "of the Virgin Mary."

What musical instruments were played?

There were none. The musician was unable to attend the service, so two hymns from the 1940 Hymnal and five other songs listed in the bulletin were left unsung.

Did anything distract you?

As the worship played out, I began to notice how little decoration the church had. There were altar lights and some candelabra of seven lights on either side, but not office lights as such. I was a little distracted, too, by altar flowers on the vigil of the second Sunday in Lent.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?

The worship was staid. The priest celebrated facing east and worked mostly without an acolyte, though a young man came to assist in some of the offertory action.

Exactly how long was the sermon?

17 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?

3 – The preacher made some points about peoples faith, Gods mercy, humankinds brokenness, and our pride preventing spiritual benefits, but he didnt knit it together into a single message.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?

We come to Christ through faith. Jesus correctly identified the Canaanite woman as a person of faith, but with two strikes against her – she was not of the house of Israel and she was a woman. We should trust not in our righteousness, but in Gods mercy.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?

We enjoyed a friendly chat with the priest and a couple other visitors after the dismissal.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?

The peculiar modern language version of the 1928 Prayer Book. I found it quite disconcerting to be present at an Anglican eucharist and yet to get nearly all of my lines wrong.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?

My friend and I had a nice visit with the celebrant and some others.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?

The bulletin stated, "Please stay for refreshments after the service" but none were offered.

How would you feel about making another visit (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?

2 – In a city the size of Columbus, I would seek an Anglo-Catholic parish.

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?

Yes. The people here love Jesus and sincerely love Jesus church.

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time ?

My curiosity has been piqued about what the liberal views were that caused the Episcopal Missionary Church to leave the Episcopal Church. Was TEC becoming too Catholic? Did the ordination of women have something to do with it?

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