At Your Service

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At Your Service: Reflections, regrets at the end of a series

Holy card

It was with a pang of regret that I published the 24th and last chapter in my At Your Service series last Monday. I began thinking of such a series something like 20 years ago, figuring it would be fascinating to visit some of the many churches in Billings and hoping that my “reviews” of the services might be of interest to others. At the time, though, and for many years after, I couldn’t imagine where I might publish such a series. (more…) Continue Reading →

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At Your Service: For final church visit, quiet simplicity


Mary Queen of Peace, 3411 Third Ave. S.
Service: 9 a.m., Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Length of service: 39 minutes. Length of sermon: 6 minutes

For this, my final church visit, I decided to go back to my roots. As I explained in the essay introducing this series, I used to attend Mass six days a week as a young Catholic. (more…) Continue Reading →

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At Your Service: Praising the Lord a little too loudly


Elevation Church, 711 Fourth Ave. N.
Service: 11 a.m., Sunday, March 15, 2015
Length of service: 1 hour, 22 minutes. Length of sermon: 40 minutes

During the first 22 minutes of the service at Elevation Church, my sympathies were with an elderly woman sitting in the row of chairs behind me. She had her hands over her ears all that time, while the Rev. Dave Carroll and his band cranked out the four loudest songs I had yet encountered on my church visits. (more…) Continue Reading →

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At Your Service: At Adventist church, silly fears drop away


Billings Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 3200 Broadwater Ave. Service: 10:45 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015
Length of service: 1 hour, 25 minutes. Length of sermon: 11 minutes

Walking up to the front doors of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church on a fine Saturday morning, I suddenly had the thought that I might be barred from entering the sanctuary. I can’t even say why, except that in the absence of knowledge it is easy to entertain silly fears and half-formed stereotypes. Continue Reading →

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At Your Service: Open Bible rolls out the welcome wagon

Open Bible

Open Bible Christian Center, 302 19th St. W.
Service: 11 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015
Length of service: 1 hour, 10 minutes. Length of sermon: 33 minutes

Give the Open Bible Christian Center credit for being what they call proactive. I hadn’t been seated for more than a minute before the church secretary, Cindy, sat down beside me and welcomed me to her church. Continue Reading →

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At Your Service: Staying seated with the uncertain


Faith Evangelical Church, 3145 Sweetwater Drive
Service: 11 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015
Length of service: 1 hour, 5 minutes. Length of sermon: 31 minutes

There were two surprises at Faith Evangelical this morning. For one, the band was playing bluegrass instruments. Pastor Brent Nymeyer said it was a special treat. Continue Reading →

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At Your Service: ‘Coming out of the godless closet’


Billings Association of Humanists, meeting at First Congregational Church, 310 N. 27th St. Meeting: 1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014
Length of meeting: 1 hour, 30 minutes. Length of sermon: none. Scouting through the Gazette’s “Faith & Values” section, trying to decide what church to visit next, I came across a notice for the Billings Association of Humanists’ Socrates Café, apparently a regular discussion group. Continue Reading →

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