Laura Du.

My father is catholic and my mother is a protestant and so, when my sisters and I were born my father decided we were to be raised catholic. After my older sister and I were baptized we moved to a Congregationalist church where my mom was more comfortable and my little sister was baptized. I went through Sunday school and confirmation there and became very at ease with the plain, white walls and elderly congregation. Upon coming to Carlisle I knew I would need to find a church and found one of the same denomination as my own. With this project though I set out to find a Christian church very unlike my own. This led me to the Carlisle Alliance Church, a non-denominational Christian Church that seemed very progressive. The sermon was definitely geared to a younger audience which was appropriate because of the large number of college students and young children. I am also used to the minister standing in a pulpit above the congregation and administering the sermon while standing there and only there. Although my minister at home would make some jokes (mostly about the Red Sox and his dog Chesterfield) the sermon was usually kept very serious and quite long. At this church though the minister was constantly moving around and addressing the congregation personally. Another dramatic difference was in the songs that we sang. I am used to hymns written several hundred years ago based almost directly off of passages from the bible, but at Alliance what we sang seemed more like it could be on the radio than in a hymnal. I really enjoyed the service because it was a nice break from what I am used to.
At the end of the service I was greeted warmly by the members of the congregation and even was given a few papers providing me with lots of information about the church and the different projects they were working on. Many times when I visit other churches I feel extremely uncomfortable because everyone else seems to know what they’re doing and I feel left out. At Alliance though I felt as though everyone wanted me to join in with them and enjoy the hour of worship. I would actually even consider returning to the church again because I met so many friendly people but still felt as though I’d had an edifying experience.

On Friday night I attended my first Jewish service in the Asbell Center. Previous to that night I had only been in one synagogue and it was for my friend’s Bat Mitzvah. I wanted to go to this service because I never really had much exposure to Judaism. Before coming to Dickinson I only knew three Jewish families and thus, didn’t know much about their traditions. I thought it would be nice to go to the service with someone who is actually Jewish so that I would be able to see, on a more personal level, what the practitioners of this religion do. My friend was extremely helpful in giving us the “tour” of the room where the service was held and the prayer book. When the service started we were invited to introduce ourselves and meet the congregation, which made me very happy. After these introductions it was clear to the regular attendants that many of us were not Jewish and so throughout the service there were a lot of explanations, translations, and referrals to pronunciation guides. At the end of the service, one of the women was called up to give a brief presentation on the Ten Commandments. This led to a lengthy discussion with all members of the congregation giving their opinion from their seats. I really enjoyed the service because of its mix of prayer, song, and discussion. I’m glad that I was able to attend this very different service without being too scared. Although I was much more comfortable in church this morning, I was happy I got the experience.