In his book, “The Spirituality of Welcoming,” Dr. Ron Wolfson says that worship ought to invoke a sense of awe and grandeur. Walking into the sanctuary of 2nd Presbyterian in Indianapolis, those feelings are inescapable. This place of worship is breathtaking. . . limestone walls rise up to meet huge timber trusses in the ceiling, and stained glass windows filter the sunlight which pours in upon the people in a kaleidoscope of color. There is a large stained glass window of the risen Jesus at the front of the church and a large circular one in the rear, towering over the pipe organ. If people are seeking a sense of the majestic in worship, they can find it here. The architecture of 2nd Presbyterian may draw people in, but it is the hospitality of this congregation that will keep them coming. Usher Dave Sutherland greeted me warmly as I entered worship last Sunday and was only too glad to share the history of this church with me. After the service he sought me ought and showed me a small room where that heritage is preserved. I was given a more extensive tour after the service by Dr. James Riley, the associate pastor who is responsible for hospitality at 2nd. Jim is responsible for new members at 2nd and they welcome more than 100 every year to this congregation. It’s a process he understands well – in fact, he has a doctorate in it. Spiritual nurture is something he cares about deeply. Some of the things that impressed me about this congregation: 1. They converted a room in the lower part of the church into a food bank, and congregational support of it mushroomed. Giving a ministry greater prominence is one way to build its support. 2. 2nd Presbyterian has a lot more deacons than elders because the deacons run the many missions and outreach projects that take place here. The food bank is only one. . .they also have a food closet program and they hold a huge yard sale twice per year that brings in about $100,000 dollars for mission work. 3. Although they are a suburban church, 2nd Pres has recently begun to get involved in the downtown ministry of Indianapolis again. 4. Their pastor, Dr. Lewis Galloway, has encouraged every group at 2nd Presbyterian to include a time of socializing and prayer together. The understanding is that spirituality is not found simply in doing but also in connecting as a group and connecting with God. 2nd Presbyterian’s architecture is grand and its liturgy is lofty but the congregation has it’s feet firmly on the ground. They are aware of the needs of the community around them and they address those needs in their own ministry. They invite one and all to join them not only for worship but also in a life of ministry and service. It is an invitation they believe will grow a person spiritually as they work together, socialize together, and pray together. Hospitality has its roots in all of these things.
2nd Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis
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