Yesterday we visited Tallmadge UMC. Rev. Bill Liming is a friend and I was looking forward to hearing him preach. After the problem with the worship time last week, I made sure the website was current. Not only is it a beautiful web site, but it also has an upcoming column where they had worship times posted for the coming Sunday. So I knew it was being updated regularly and the worship times would be correct. We decided to attend the 10:45 Traditional service. There is also an 8:45 Contemporary service, but it was too early.
Because it was raining, we walked in the closest door. We had been there before and knew the door was where the offices were and at the opposite end of the church from the sanctuary. But there was a greeter at the door who welcomed us and handed us a bulletin! Very nice touch. There were also greeters at the main doors and at the doors to the sanctuary. Once we sat down, we were greeted by several other people who went out of their way to stop by and introduce themselves.
The sanctuary is different – built in the 1980’s – and is a seafoam green with darker green highlights. The ceiling is a lighter green and even the carpeting is the same hue. The ceiling lights had stained glass jewels which reminded me of the sacred breastplate of the High Priest (I’ve been reading Exodus lately). There are also simple but lovely stained glass windows.
Rev. Bill Liming was on vacation, but Rev. Jennifer Williamson who grew up in the Tallmadge church, was filling in for him. She did a nice job leading the service and it was obvious she was familiar with the congregation. Her sermon was based on Genesis 32:22-31 (Jacob wrestling with God) and Matthew 14:13-21 (Jesus feeding the 5,000). She talked about the importance of face to face communication, so we can see how the other person feels and responds. We need to do this face to face communication with others as we wrestle with resolving differences and with God as we wrestle with questions of faith.
Following the sermon we participated in Communion, which makes this the third time we have had communion out of the five Sundays we have visited churches.
We enjoyed our time of worship at Tallmadge. The congregation was very friendly with several people talking to us after the service. We were repeatedly invited back. Tom and I have a hard time being strangers in a congregation. We would rather roll up our sleeves and pitch in, but this is one of the things we will have to adjust to as we travel. Tallmadge UMC welcomed us so warmly that we were sorry we couldn’t stay to get better acquainted.