University Class Visits Forsythe

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I had a most unusual experience this past Friday. Dr. Henry Hale, a professor at the University of Louisinana, Monroe, brought his Sociology of Religion class to our church building for a tour. For many years Dr. Hale has taken his students on tours of a dozen or so church buildings in Monroe. A major discussion topic is the various archetectural features and how they are driven by theology. The students have a list of details they are to observe at each visit.  About 30 University students are in the class.

So on Friday, with little structure, I talked to the students about our unusual building, why it is shaped the way it is, some of our history, and some of the theological reasons for the features of our building. I talked to them about the absence of a choir loft, noticable lack of instruments, and the prominence of the baptismal pool. I gave them a short primer on Restoration history. And then came the questions. Lots of questions.

For some of the questions, they were merely seeking the information needed to do their assignment. Many of the questions, however, did not really relate to their class, but were simply of interest to the students. I found them to be candid and kind. There were questions about our worship services, our community involvement, and our use of the Old Testament. Some questions on baptism had some students nodding their heads in agreement, others frowning in disagreement. One of their assigned questions had to do with the health of the denomination and trends toward growth and decline.

I had lots of positive feedback about the youth wing of our church building, and the beauty of our auditorium. Overall it was a delightful experience and I look forward to next year’s visit.

Just wanted to share that with you! Thanks for reading,

John

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