A Catholic visits Grace Church

Grace+Church+on+Harrison+Bridge+Road.

(Photo Courtesy of Ana Sallurday)

Grace Church on Harrison Bridge Road.

I was born and raised Catholic and had never visited a Non-Denominational church. I have always had an interest in other religions, so I decided to visit a church that many Brashier students attend, a Non-Denominational church called Grace Church. 

The Non-Denominational Church believes in basic biblical teachings such as the Trinity, that humans were created in God’s image and likeness, salvation comes from faith alone, and Scripture comes from God. The Catholic Church believes in the same biblical teachings; however, Catholics also believe the bible expresses both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition from Jesus to the apostles. This means that Catholic masses have a set routine that originates from how the apostles worshiped during mass thousands of years ago. Catholics also believe that the bread and wine are not symbols of Jesus’ body and blood but are actually his body and blood as stated in Matthew 26:26-28.

After senior Abbi Manos invited me to attend her church, I met with her that week to ask her some questions about what to expect. I was surprised that Sunday services mainly consist of preaching while studying the bible and praise and worship. Catholic masses have many traditional mass parts that need to be explained to someone new for them to understand what happens during mass. I was not expecting Grace’s service to be as simple as it was, but I think that it makes it easier for anyone from any religious background to join in worship. 

“…Worship has always made me feel more connected to God because it’s like praying, just in a more creative and expressive way,” explains senior Abby McDonald. 

In Catholicism, the masses are based on traditions from thousands of years ago. A lot of the mass stays the same every Sunday, so a non-Catholic person could easily feel out of place by not knowing when to sit, kneel, or stand. I was initially nervous about standing out attending a church I was not familiar with; however, Grace was welcoming and I did not stick out as much as I thought I would. 

“I love the sense of community at Grace. I think everybody is really welcoming and are there to help you and guide you along,” stated senior Cheyanne Stankiewicz 

I brought my bible and a notepad with me on Sunday and sat next to several Brashier students. The service started with a few songs and led into a pastor preaching on 2 Corinthians 7. 

I was impressed with how the pastor was engaging with his members by asking them to write or mark in their bibles what was important. Abbi Manos later explained that the pastor picks a book in the bible and preaches a chapter each Sunday. In Catholicism, passages from the bible are split into three groups and are rotated every three years to ensure that the entire bible is read. However, I liked that the pastor was able to explain more about the history of Corinth because he had been preaching on Corinthians for several weeks. I felt like I was getting a well-rounded bible study which is something that I struggle to find as a Catholic. 

“It [Sunday service] is really calming to me. I feel refreshed afterward, and I like how it’s a battle between comfort and pain,” stated senior Cheyanne Stankiewicz

At the end of the service, a man came up and told the members if anyone wants to talk more in-depth about this topic, he could schedule a time to talk in private. I appreciated that Grace Church was invested in creating a community to help others create a firm foundation in living their lives for Christ. 

“Grace is very intentional on discipleship and is actively part of the community,” said senior Abbi Manos. 

While the Catholic Church and the Non-Denominational Church are different in our beliefs, being able to experience Grace’s church service has shown me that our regions are more similar than I originally thought. It was easy for me to sit with them and be present with our God. While we have different ways of worshiping Him, at the end of the day, what is important is that we spent time being with Him. Every believer is developing that relationship with God, and it does not matter how a believer worships God as long as they spend quality time with Him. I think it can be too easy for religions to point out what makes them different from each other, but the beautiful thing is that we all worship our God in the way we feel most comfortable doing it.