Saturday, October 9, 2004

It's Saturday evening, time to go to church

Faith Matters

By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

MIAMI TOWNSHIP - Sunday mornings may be a time for church, but for many busy families, the day is no longer off-limits to soccer games and work.

That's led some area churches to offer Saturday-evening worship. Long a staple in the Roman Catholic Church and common among many non-denominational churches, Saturday-evening services have been slower in coming to many mainline Protestant churches.

Epiphany United Methodist Church in Miami Township launched its 5 p.m. Saturday service Sept. 18, becoming one of the first Methodist churches in the area to do so.

"We find that every weekend we have families torn between church and sports, especially soccer," said Pastor Doug Damron. "The church can either lament or meet people where they are."

The church, at 6635 Loveland-Miamiville Road in Clermont County, anticipated about 50 people and instead had an attendance of about 140. And on a recent weekend, the church saw the same size crowd with no dip in Sunday attendance.

"There was a time when the Methodist Church said there is one service at 11 a.m., and if you can't make it, tough luck," Damron said.

"This really seemed to scratch an itch for people. It's really energized the church and all the services."

Main Street Baptist Church in Alexandria started a 6 p.m. Saturday service a couple years ago because the Sunday service was full and parking issues prevented adding a second Sunday service at the church, 306 W. Main St.

"A growing part of our congregation had to work on Sundays, so a Saturday evening service was a great option for them," said Pastor Robert Franklin.

As society continues to schedule more Sunday-morning events, Franklin thinks more Baptist churches will follow.

But he doesn't encourage people to opt out of Sunday service for just any activity.

"We encourage our young people to tell their soccer coaches or sports teams to schedule events for a different time.

"We recognize the culture has changed, but we don't want to cede the ground," Franklin said.

For Springdale Church of the Nazarene, the 5:30 p.m. Saturday service serves a dual purpose of reaching people who might be intimidated by church.

"There are people who don't consider themselves to be religious, and they have reservations about attending a church service,'' said Pastor Rick Harvey. "Saturday night doesn't sound churchy; it's more casual."

That service does seem to be attracting new people to the church, at 11177 Springfield Pike, south of Interstate 275. The congregation of 1,400 had about 30 visitors on its first weekend.

"We're overwhelmed by the response," he said.

Damron said the style of the service is also reaching a different group of people.

"It's a different style. All four services have the same message, but this one is the most casual. I preach in jeans," he said. "It's a come-as-you-are service, geared toward families."

Festival Choir Concert Sunday

The Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church will host the October Festival Choir, made up of more than 100 voices from across Greater Cincinnati, in a concert called "Requiem 4 the Living" at 4 p.m. Sunday.

The choir will perform French Composer Maurice Durufle's chant-based Requiem.

They will also perform Frank Lewin's Mass for the Dead, which was first performed at the funeral of Robert F. Kennedy.

The concert at the church, 103 William Howard Taft Road, is free, and no reservations are required. For information, call (859) 491-2362.

American Judaism expert

Jonathan Sarna, professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University, will speak on "American Judaism in Historical Perspective" 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Sarna is the chief historian of Celebrate 350, the national commemoration of the 350th anniversary of the first Jewish settlement in North America.

The talk, at Reakirt Auditorium in the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, 1301 Western Ave., is free and open to the public.

To submit religion news, e-mail or send a fax to 755-4150.

County will wall off Powers' courtroom
Drug case proceeds; judge had testified
West Nile became man's Twilight Zone
Four arrested in teen's death

Bush, Kerry clash in heated rematch
In their own words
Clooney called '60s liberal
Senate races rake in bucks
Greenhills voters can beef up home fund
Partner benefits could be curtailed
Wording of Ohio's gay-marriage ban called sweeping
Same goals but different paths
Election board vote tied on registration residency

Withrow remembered
Cincinnati's 'brownouts' coming to an end Sunday
U.S. citizenship grows by 70
Drake Center flier called 'outrageous'
Findlay Market to be open Sundays in '05
Frailey may get 3.9% raise
Schools cope with crowds
Local news briefs
3 more Mason students charged in stolen gun
Bond $600K in Miami rape case
Neighborhood briefs
State sues over fitness funds
Big weekend may boost science museum
Public safety briefs
Eighth-graders in Madeira gather items for troops

CSO program luminous
Ballet opens exuberantly

Good Things Happening
It's Saturday evening, time to go to church

Bernard Roeckers, XU athlete

Police seek assailant in store robbery
Trial date reset in abuse suit against diocese
Track upgrade ahead of plan
Family battles Bellevue for a handicapped spot
Lawmakers examine two health options
Keeneland dares to mix history, hi tech
N. Ky. news briefs
Federal legislation would aid speedway
Covington man died before fire at his apartment