Looking for a Christian Church in Playa Del Carmen
21.12.2014 - 21.12.2014 81 °F
Being an outsider looking for a community of fellow Christians to worship with can be quite a look-in-the-mirror experience. How a community portrays itself really makes a difference to attract or repel others. I've got to assume that those who put themselves out there on the internet are interested in making the connection. So onto a computer, using my super sleuth research skills and here's what I found: three nearby options in the more 'evangelical' flavour:
Fellowship Church of the Riviera Maya has two websites: one old, with old locations. The clue was that the blog stopped awhile ago. I took the time to use the contact form on what turned out to be the old website and noted the website concern and request to confirm service time/place. Got a pretty short note saying that the person I connected with was the pastor of the other (spanish) location and that the English service in Playa took place at 10:45 Sundays. No location, no website explanation nor any encouragement to come out. His name was not indicative of a non-english speaker. I found the 'new' website and it looked friendly enough and full of good info.
Antioch is a Four Square church with a Facebook page that describes itself as an English only church. Skimpy on info, contacts or service times. Also a note that there is English and Spanish available. Comments on the time line ask about service times, but replies don't give them. Buried in the 'cover photo' is a service time and address. But these are not visible in the standard page preview.
Lighthouse church has a well populated Facebook page and also references a website. They are the only ones who have recent posts on their timeline. Also of interest is that they are advertising a Christmas Eve Service in a local community centre - looks interesting.
So we picked one and went. Suffice to say it was quite an awkward experience. The service is best described as 'contemporary christian, with worship songs that I recognized and a schedule I would be familiar with. The congregation was very small and we obviously stood out as 'guests'. But after receiving a 'get in the door greeting' along with the others, not one person approached us or talked to us. People looked at us and we smiled. We are friendly people and know how to connect with strangers given the opening. But this time? That's it. That's all. This was the english service after all. The pastor took the time to connect with others in the group, but totally ignored us. At the end we stood, and watched people greet each other and slowly made our way out making eye contact where possible. Nothing.
At first, I hesitated to finish and post this blog, because I do know that there are people out there who will jump on it for the 'accusing' angle and I really don't like giving them ammunition by being negative about these things....much less members of my own faith. I had truly started writing about my research into where to go expecting to complete the piece with a lovely story of community and common worship. But instead, I walked away puzzled and stunned to say the least.
Well, travel adventures can be like that. That's how our day went. Have you ever had a similar experience? Do you attend a church that might offer a similar experience to a stranger?