[ editor’s note: Susan, Danielle and Heidi, on a wine tasting tour of Southern Indiana, attended St. Peter’s the Sunday of June 6, 2016. This is their report. ]
It’s Sunday on the road with the women of the VSG so that means it’s time to visit a new church.
Today’s church is St. Peter’s Lutheran Church of Corydon, Indiana (ELCA). Yes, ELCA. This was a wonderful little church (average attendance 57; today’s attendance 45) located about 8 miles from Kintner Bed and Breakfast, our home for the weekend. The church’s pastor serves the 2 ELCA churches in the area, presiding at a 9am service at Gethsemane Lutheran and the 10:30 service that we attended. She had to be out of town unexpectedly so service was led by a member of the congregation. The bread and wine was blessed by another Lutheran pastor prior to Sunday. I think, but am not certain, that this pastor was LCMS.
St. Peter’s has a cemetery next to the church with very old tombstones dating back to the early 1800s. (Definitely TPL approved!) The building is brick with a modern multipurpose room in the back.
We’ve happened upon a special service at St. Peter’s. Today they are conducting their worship service the way it was done in the first century church. This means no sanctuary – instead we met in the multipurpose room to represent meeting in homes. Typical 1st century church would begin with any baptisms, collect prayer requests from the congregants then continue with the reading of a letter from Paul. Today, we read from Paul’s letter to the Galatians. By mid-to-late 1st century, the churches would also begin reading from the “new” gospels. Today’s reading was from the gospel according to St. Luke. The homily in the early church was used to provide explanation and application of the letter and gospel readings.
What does a small country ELCA church sing? Our hymns for the day were Just a Closer Walk with Thee (requested by a young boy), Jesus Loves Me, Amazing Grace/My Chains Are Gone, and Trading My Sorrows.
During the worship, the children played in the nearby nursery and came in and out of the service at will. Oddly, it was not disruptive at all.
Following service, various members of the congregation made announcements – thanking for prayers during illness, thanks for a successful barbecue event the day prior, asking for book order requests for the next Christian book club meeting, and such. We were quite a hit, as I suspect this congregation doesn’t get a lot of visitors.
All in all, a refreshing look at how the early church worshipped and a chance to experience small church caring.