Sunday, November 11, 2007

November 4

I went to a Methodist worship service today. The building is relatively large and pretty old. It is built in an Anglican fashion (or so I was told). I believe it is the only building like it in Lausanne. Also, it is the only Methodist congregation in Lausanne. I thought that the building would reflect the congregation size. I was wrong. The building is actually shared by several congregations of differing denominations. There were only about 20 people in attendance at the Methodist service. Mostly retirees I believe. It was a nice service with an interesting sermon, but there really wasn't anyone else there my age. It made me miss Collegiate UMC in Ames.
I was curious about how communion would work. It was a Methodist church, but it was also in wine country. I was curious if wine or juice would be served. It was juice, I was actually a bit surprised. It wasn't Welch's obviously; I think it may not have been straight up grape juice, maybe cran-grape. It was served the same way that communion was served when I visited St. Francois. Everyone went up to the front and formed a circle. Then the servers walked around with the bread and a common cup to each person. The pastor addressed everyone by there name. I was wondering what he would do when he came to me. I thought he would probably just not say my name, but say "this is the body" or something like that. No, he actually just flat out asked me what my name was. I've noticed that when serving communion, people often whisper, or speak in quiet voices, but not in this service. The servers spoke in normal voices or at least normal amplitudes.
There was a flute accompaniment for all the music instead of a piano or organ. That was neat. Some of the songs were familiar, but the words were all new. It was kind of fun to sing in French. While we were studying poetry last semester in my French class, I learned that the last letter of the last word of each line of the poem is pronounced. Usually the last letter in French words are not pronounced. It's kind of hard to explain in writing. Anyway, songs work the same as poems. The pronunciation is a bit more phonetic. Sounds more like Latin or maybe Spanish, than it does French.
I talked to a man for a while after the service. Pretty old guy. Retired teacher. I think he taught in a primary or secondary school. Maybe music, I think he said he studied music. He told me some interesting things about Switzerland and some stuff about churches. I guess every canton is basically in charge of it's own denomination. For example, the biggest denomination in Vaud, the canton in which I am living, is Vaudois Reformed. This denomination is supported by tax and government money and the pastors, I believe, are government employees. Interesting. Independent denominations are supported by the denomination though. Methodist congregations are not common in Switzerland. Neither are catholic churches actually. For the most part, people attend some form of Protestant Reformed church. Turns out the Cathedrale, the very large, old cathedral in Lausanne, is actually no longer Catholic. I believe it is Vaudois Reformed. I didn't realize that. I had just assumed since it was called a cathedral, it must be catholic.
It was nice to go to this church this morning. It started at 10. I think a lot of services start at that time, because I often hear bells like 10 minutes before 10:00 on Sunday mornings. I think that the ringing of the bells is to call people to the service or something. It's not a song or melody or anything. Just ringing bells. I kind of like it. Bells seem to be quite prevalent in many parts of Swiss life.

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