Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Rancho Bernardo - Community - PCUSA

Faithful and interesting readers, this was a not good experience—at least in terms of church. I'll post a relatively short blog here and then a longer followup in a few days or so.

Ten days ago on Saturday evening I sampled another church in what is becoming a series; this one was part of the Protestant Mainline, though you'd never have known it from any of the signage, announcements or printed material. The congregation in attendance and the worship leaders reflected the mostly white, middle-class to upper-middle-class demographics of Rancho Bernardo, an affluent suburb north of where I live. "Community Church" is a fairly routine designation, used by some non-affiliated congregations and quite frequently in the mainline UCC and PC(USA). So RBP wants to present itself as a gift to the greater world rather than only to people who might be looking for a Presbyterian Church?! Time for a disclaimer: RBP has a very large membership and extensive campus, and by necessity, I'm reporting only on my experience of maybe 5% of the whole, but the pew hymnals were one of Hope Publishing's free church hymnals, Worship and Praise, rather than the PH. Now that I'm blogging this, it runs in my mind that the NRSV pew bibles did carry the PC(USA) logo...

Check out the church's website: Transformed Lives. Admittedly I didn't spend a lot of time on the extensive site, but nowhere could I find a single instance of the PC(USA) logo and could not discover any denominational affiliation, though "Presbyterian" refers to a particular type of connectionality.

The new sanctuary included doors, stained glass and other artifacts from some of the former. The assembly sits in more than a 3/4 circle...a large, though unfilled (okay, I know about the health hazards of keeping water in the font) baptismal font greeted us at the entrance, but the communion table was disproportionately small and pretty much pushed back against the wall of the front platform.

PCUSA sealPlainly put, what I experienced at RB was disastrous in terms of its being an actual congregation of the PC(USA). I did describe it as not fun, but trust me—that sequel will be here soon, so check back on this site. I have so much to say about God, worship, church and identity. And I've made this logo link to PCUSA dot org, so there.

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