St. Peter Lutheran Church

Posted On November 30, 2009

Filed under Religion

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Dubuque, Iowa. November 15, 2009. Lutheran.

Enthusiasm level (1 to 10, highest 10): 4 (Even in a whisper, I could hear my own voice singing… because everyone else was quiet)

Average age of congregation: Fair mix of young adults, children, parents and older folks

Serves donuts/coffee: I saw bagels!

Dressy Attire: business casual

Believes in Hell: yes

Sermon quote: “In our lives there are things that happen that are not pleasant, but are necessary to pass through to the next stage.”

We wanted to learn more about the touchdown Jesus. Seriously. We’re not joking.

The large tiled mosaic design of Jesus with his arms reaching towards the sky – sort of like goalposts on a football field – lured us inside the St. Peter Lutheran Church. The design that covers about 400 square feet on the facade of the church was created in the late 1950s, and depicts eight moments of the church in four vertical panels with Jesus rising in a fifth center panel.

The intricate mosaic design continued inside the church. While Courtney felt the mosaics gave the church a Mosque-like feeling, Stacey felt the vaulted wooden ceilings and tiny ceiling fans gave the church a distinct summer camp cabin feeling. The hymns did not help eliminate that vibe.

Both of us stared in confusion at the words prominently placed behind the pastor during his sermon: “Do you love me? Feed my sheep.” After some research on the church’s Web site, we discovered the words carved in the sanctuary are supposedly Jesus’ words to Simon Peter. Good to know now, but during the sermon it was just a little bit creepy.

We took our first Church Scouts communion on this trip. After a cursory glance through the program, which said nothing like “No trespassing on our communion, this means you,” we went for it.

Stacey’s knees were shaking as she walked toward the pastor to take communion for the first time that she can remember in her 24 years of life. She was elated that she didn’t choke on the wafer or burst into flames.

Courtney last took communion in high school, where her Methodist church served grape juice and tiny bread cubes (the kind that miniature people might use for fondue). The wafer took her by surprise. It was dry, had a foam-like texture and tasted like cardboard… not even cheese whiz could save that thing. The wine was real (as in alcoholic), she thinks, but she really couldn’t be sure. It didn’t taste like any she’s had before, and she would rather not repeat it. But she was thankful to be included!

As we walked out, the pastor recognized that we were new faces and warmly greeted us at the end of the service.


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