I am baptized and raised a Catholic, found a spiritual home in the Swedish-Lutheran church and attend Protestant service in Germany. I suppose I qualify as multiconfessional! What was definitely missing on my list though was going to a real gospel service. So this Sunday, Emily and I went to St Augustine. I have never been in the minority with my whiteness – but this church was definitely an African American parish. Such an interesting experience! The church was crowded with people, young and old, and the gospel choir, although small, and the musicians really got the atmosphere Europeans try to recreate in their gospel choirs going. During the general intercessions, they prayed for the homeless and explicitly named two men which I thought was so nice. They also prayed for „our country in these times of fear and insecurity, especially for immigrants“.

The candles at the Saint Mary statue had the national colors / Apparently the booklet for mass is new few months, this one is for November to April 2017

In Germany and Sweden, churches get money from taxes and fees, but here they ask for donations. We had to listen to a CD after the sermon in which their cardinal made a long speech about why you should donate. Apparently this is a yearly thing called The Cardinal’s Appeal and on our seats, we had fancy bilingual (English and Spanish) envelopes in which you could put your donation. „Please acknowledge God’s blessing in your life with a contribution of 1000 dollars or more“, it said, „Donors who give at this level become part of the Appeal’s Circle of Hope“. Luckily, you could split that in 10 monthly payments and then it actually isn’t that much more than church tax.

The entire service was almost two hours and at the end they did what I remember from our parish in Michigan when I lived there and which I always have found particularily lovely: they asked those who were there the first time to stand up. We stood up and people welcomed us, gave us an envelope with information about the church and the priest said, „If you’re looking for a church home, we invite you to be part of our parish“.

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