This last week Tom and I attended Lewis Center United Methodist Church. John and Jackie were not able to go with us and we didn’t feel like driving to Lexington to go with Mom and Dad. So we picked a church close to the campground where we stay in Ohio and tried it. We drive by Lewis Center UMC on our way to the doctor, grocery shopping, and John and Jackie’s house, so we knew right where it was.
Lewis Center United Methodist Church has two worship services on Sunday morning at 9 and 10:30. Unfortunately they don’t have this information on their church sign so we had to look up their web page. Their web page is pretty good, although I don’t think they update it as often as they should. The bio on the Senior Pastor was from 2015 and the Associate Pastor wasn’t listed, even though I know he has been there at least a year..
The church building doesn’t look large from the outside. There is plenty of parking and finding the entrance was easy. Everyone was heading in the same direction, although lots of people stopped to greet one another. The sanctuary is non-traditional, looking like it doubles as a fellowship hall. Wooden pews flanked by chairs could be moved and rearranged. The bulletin said that the attendance the previous Sunday was 368 at the two services plus a special once-a-month service. The congregation appears to be in the middle of a Capital Funds campaign to expand the facilities.
Rev. Tom Hanover is Senior Pastor at Lewis Center, but he was on vacation the Sunday we visited. The Associate Pastor, Phil Rode, led the service and gave the sermon. The service is labeled “casual traditional” and it seemed like a good description. The choir wore robes, but a praise band led one song, and Rev. Rode didn’t wear a robe. The service had liturgical elements but they aided the flow instead of dominating. Instead of an organ, they have a grand piano.
The Lewis Center pastors started a new sermon series on Sunday called “Family Matters.” I thought from the title they would talk about families (Mom, Dad, kids, etc) but this first sermon seemed focused more on individuals as members of the family of God. Rev. Rode talked about priorities: putting God first and putting God in every part of our lives. He used a lot of humor which I really enjoyed.
Tom and I agreed that worship at Lewis Center was the best experience we have had in Columbus since Linworth changed pastors. People were friendly and said hello but it was large enough that we didn’t stick out. The congregation is younger than average for a United Methodist church. This makes sense because the area is primarily new middle-class developments. The congregation seems like a good one to get to know better.