Community vs Institution

A Contrast: A Christian Institution vs. a Christian Community

By Jerry Zellar

                As a young person I grew up in Columbus, Ohio. My Parents moved there when I was 9. We lived in my Grandparents’ house after my grandfather had just died. My Grandparents belonged to the First Congregational church, which was about eight blocks from downtown. The church was a huge monolithic building reminiscent of gothic Cathedrals in Europe. A beautiful-round stained glass window in for of the church. On a typical Sunday service there were eight ushers all dressed in tuxedoes, The Choir had four paid soloists. There were 5 ministers (including youth, music and education). On a typical Sunday morning my mother, my siblings, my Great Aunt and my Grandmother attended this church. I would that about 95% of the congregation came from the affluent suburbs and communities near Columbus. The Church was located in a very poor, lower middle class, neighborhood. The Church, however, as not involved in that community in any way. There was no outreach or service to the community which surrounded the church. It was a “Christian Institution”.

Now contrast it with this little church here- HUCC. When I first attended here my first thought was “How will I ever be happy here in this little small semirural setting?” But after attending for several Sundays, I felt ‘at home”. Her I found friends, lovers of Music, a guitar group, which I became part of. A choir which although small gave me great satisfaction. A church totally committed and involved in National and Local Missions, it almost appeared that every person was involved in some way. This is a Christian Community.

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