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Sunday, January 16, 2005

First Congregational-Pentecostal Church.

Keeping an eye on multicultural ecumenical efforts, I bring you the story of Christ Congregational Church in Neponset, Massachusetts, where a tiny bunch of aging Congregationalists have started sharing their church with a growing congregation of Hispanic Pentecostals. Maria Cramer reports in today's front-page Boston Globe story that cohabitation hasn't been easy for two congregations with very different styles of Christianity:

The Congregationalists are mostly elderly; forming the core are descendants of immigrants from Europe who settled in the area over a century ago, although in recent years new people from Jamaica, Trinidad, and India have joined their group of about 25 worshipers. The Pentecostalists, who call their church Iglesia Oasis de Vida, are much younger. They worship in Spanish, and their services draw on Pentecostal tradition and popular culture from the Dominican, Peruvian, and Puerto Rican homelands of the bulk of their 80 congregants.

Some of the Congregationalists say they are uncomfortable sharing space with the Pentecostalists and with the loud, rambunctious style of worship they have witnessed in joint services. The Congregationalists complain about the clutter they say the Pentecostalists leave at the altar, such as the electric drum set and microphones that Oasis relies on for its exuberant service.

"We don't need all this up there," grumbled Marie Giuliana, 81, one of the Congregationalists, as she indicated an array of microphone stands and amplifiers.

The Pentecostalists are careful to express their gratitude when they talk about their move to Christ Community. But they also say the narrow pews make it hard to dance. The wine-colored carpets are dour, and the stark white walls need more color.

"If they let me . . . I would paint it . . . a color like mango. That would give it more life," said Jeannette Rodriquez, the wife of the Oasis pastor. "And I'd put a waterfall right in the altar."

Now that would be something to see! ("An Uneasy Communion," Maria Cramer, Boston Globe 1.16.05)

Copyright © 2005 by Philocrites | Posted 16 January 2005 at 11:22 PM

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January 18, 2005 09:53 AM | Permalink for this comment

Man, I thought the UU/UCC thing was rough! I wonder if they would let me put in a waterfall...

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