At the risk of this becoming a game of who-emailed-me-back-fastest, a quick tally is needed:
Of the churches that have asked me for an email address, one emailed me approximately ten days later, one sent me a mass-email-newsletter four weeks later, and the church I visited this past Sunday followed up with personal emails from two individuals – the minister, and a congregant – within three days.
Right, so that last one is winning by miles, if church reputation boils down to efficacy of electronic communication.
But I digress.
I need to think out loud about coffee hour.
I haven’t stayed for coffee hour at any of the churches I’ve visited. With a work schedule that generally includes Sunday afternoons, I mutter excuses about dashing off to work and avoid the general extrovert-oriented awkwardness that is post-service coffee time.
And I feel badly about it.
But this past Sunday, as I rushed off, I noticed that I wasn’t the only one speeding out the door. And when I chatted with friends who go to the same church, many mentioned that they rarely stick around for coffee because they tend to have other plans for their Sunday afternoon. I’ve gotten the impression that no one actually feels it essential to stick around for a cuppa and a biscuit.
So why do I feel guilty about missing coffee hour?
I guess that, when it comes down to it, this social time as the body of Christ might be what I think church is all about.
Don’t get me wrong: I don’t only show up for the food (although I’ve been known to judge parishes by their communion wine…). But the church service alone is, to me, not the point. I can recite liturgy on my own. I can download and listen to sermon podcasts all Sunday morning, curled up on the couch with my Sudoku.
But it’s a bit tricky to socialize with other Christians if I’m alone in my pjs. And this time together with other Christians, talking about our hope and our joy and what we’re doing in our community as a church, is the thing that makes it worth my time to go to a church service.
Whoa, nellie! Did I just stumble across something that makes church important for me?
Let’s hear that again:
This time together with other Christians, talking about our hope and our joy and what we’re doing in our community as a church, is the thing that makes it worth my time to go to a church service.
Is coffee hour really more important than I’d ever given it credit?