Church Visits

Visiting Churches: Chris Thompson (stainedglass) is an amateur Alaskan biblical scholar and student of religion, especially as it relates to popular culture. He regularly attends national and regional American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature events to interact with and learn from worldwide religion scholars. Through unannounced mystery visits to churches in Anchorage and South-Central Alaska, he observes how guests (visitors) are treated during this initial church visit. Research indicates guests first visit perceptions affects further spiritual growth and religious attitudes as they search for a church home. Chris' church visits focus primarily on Christian churches. This blog contains accounts of those visits, and related posts about religion in culture. Chris looks for the following in his visits:

•Genuine welcome, true Christian hospitality

•Friendliness and warmth

•Effective, well-delivered, Bible-based, main teaching

•Music deepening the worship, not just entertainment

Google map of churches Chris Thompson has visited.

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Significant 2013 Church Visits Posts

Top Ten Issues Local Churches Must Address in 2013

Ten Things Churches Did That Blew Me Away In 2012

Guest Post: Why Theology Matters to Musicians

Church Visits: What's it like visiting a church with a guest-friendly service? - 7/5/2014 2:08 pm

Church Visits: 10 excuses people give for not attending church - 6/28/2014 11:21 am

Church Visits: Religious pluralism in Alaska here to stay - 6/21/2014 8:28 am

Church Visits: Welcoming churches can reverse attendance slump - 6/14/2014 9:21 am

Crosspoint Community Church Revisit – May 11, 2014 - 6/13/2014 1:44 pm

Church Visits: 5 easy ways to increase your biblical literacy - 6/7/2014 5:23 pm

Church Visits: Cardinal Dolan discusses the pastoral challenges facing Pope Francis - 5/31/2014 1:07 pm

Beast Feast: Great Food and Conversation - 5/30/2014 10:10 pm

Advent Reflection: Rector Michael Burke

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I've asked a cross-section of Anchorage pastors to comment upon Advent as an Antidote for Acquisitiveness or Consumerism. Our final pastoral contribution is from Michael Burke, rector of St Mary's Episcopal Church.

On Second Advent Sunday, I spoke about the “irony, humor, and tragedy” of the fact that “Christmas” (meaning the commercial season stretching from Halloween to December 25th) has eclipsed not only Advent, but the celebration of Christmas as well.

We live in a culture that does not know what to do with Advent, as it seems to “be in the way of” this secular or commercial celebration of “Christmas.”

While Advent was originally practiced as a relatively austere time of “much space” for introspection and the preparation of one’s own heart for the coming of Christ, the busy-ness of the season has crowded that out.

So I wonder… Has the celebration of “Christmas” become the single biggest obstacle to the celebration of … … Christmas?

Attached* is some of what I shared with our congregation regarding how one family responded to this situation, and the different approach they took.

I have since had a couple families report back to me , that this is what they are choosing to do for this Advent / Christmas.

* See attached document available for download below.

Rector Michael Burke, St Mary's Episcopal ChurchRector Michael Burke, St Mary's Episcopal Church

The Grateful Christmas Project.pdf325.29 KB

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