Visit to Trinity Grace

Trinity Grace has multiple 'parish' churches, but we went to the Chelsea one, which I think is the largest. It's in an old church building on 22nd street: high ceilings, big staircases, gallery upstairs.

This congregation is especially young, mainly in their twenties. They all seemed to be pretty cool. A few piercings, bit of dyed hair, indie beards. But more generally, just arty-stylish. The place was pretty full: about 250-300 people. No kids and no kids ministry.

Here's an outline of the servie:

1. Extended reading 'call to worship', with music beginning to play in the background by the service leader.

2. Two songs that were very intense and very passionate, lots of stomping on the ground and repeated choruses that build up in that Cold Play sort of way. Synthesiser, guitar, bass, cello, drums and additional singer.

3. The musicians stay standing while the service leader gave the announcements and they also appeared up on the screen:

  • They will have a combined-congregation service (they hold this every two months I think) on a Tuesday night.
  • They will hold a 'Passover seder' dinner to see Easter in a new light. This is a full meal.
  • A new ministry 'Real Women' will begin meeting monthly. They already run 'Real Men'.
  • After the announcement deck finishes the screen returns to the generic Trinity Grace slide.
4. The offering ('for members here') is announced by the service leader with a Scriptural appeal. People are invited to go to the back of the room to place their offerings while everyone else stands and greets one another.

5. A new guy comes up and does an educative slot related to the semron. This is a pretty academic sort of thing, that refers to 'Torah' and 'Maccabean Revolt'.

6. The Scipture reading was read by a girl. They are currently in a series on Matthew 23 for Lent. This was projected on the screen. Jon said that this was not because 'we're in the technology age'. It's to encourage a shared experience. 'When you go to Redeemer, it's just you, your service outline and Tim'.

7. Sermon. During the sermon Scripture passages and the general outline was projected onto the screen on series-specific slide backgrounds. This was the first sermon I'd heard in America that was thoroughly expository. It was also the first time in America the congregation had actually been brought back to Old Testament passages to study together as part of the sermon.

Also, a distinctive of Trinity Grace among New York churches, is taking the time at the end of the sermon to work out the implications of the Sciptures for their community. Jon focuses on teaching the church how to be who they are.

8. While the preacher prays, the band comes up and sets up.

9. Communion is introduced. The band plays while we are given a time of reflection. Whenever we are ready we can go to one of the four corners of the building to take communion by intinction. This was the same as Mars Hill.

10. The band invites us to stand and sing two songs. Jon said that only one song was probably necessary at this point.

11. The service leader delivers a benediction.

12. People were invited to come forward for prayer after the service.

13. After the service, the screen invited people to 'get involved' and 'meet people' by helping the band pack up the stage area.

At two points in the service there were call-response things as well. Can't remember exactly where now.