Location: Lewis Chapel CME Church, 202 E. Gutierrez St.
Service Attended: Sunday, 11 a.m.
Pastor: Charles A. Reed, Sr.
Denomination: Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME)
Congregation Size: 10 attending
Services: Worship on Sunday at 11 a.m.; Prayer Meeting and Bible Study on Sunday at 7 p.m.
Contact: Call 965-2625.
The congregation of the Lewis Chapel CME Church is very small, but very devoted – and extremely tight-knit. It’s obvious that members of the congregation care about one another, spend time together, and really try to function as a community.
Since this weekend marked the fortieth anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Pastor Reed spent a few moments reminding his church of the ideals he felt King represented, and their continuing importance in the daily lives of the congregation.
Aside from this, however, the Lewis Chapel CME Church’s service is, by Santa Barbara standards, highly traditional and very complete. A scripture reading, a sermon, and the singing of hymns were included, in addition to the taking of Communion. One feature of the Lewis Chapel’s worship, which is a little different from practices in other Christian churches Your Worship has visited in Santa Barbara, is “altar prayer.” In this part of the service, every member of the congregation knelt before the altar of the church and prayed, while being blessed and prayed for individually by Pastor Reed.
This part of the service left the distinct impression that Pastor Reed actually knows each church member well enough to tailor his prayers on their behalf to their lives, and to know their individual concerns. This is, of course, facilitated by the small size of the group, but it is also a result of Pastor Reed’s colloquial style.
Aside from his Biblical knowledge and intimate familiarity with the teachings of his denomination, Pastor Reed’s sermons and overall style are characterized by the inclusion of personal anecdotes, interesting similes, and the inclusion of information which is not specifically Biblical. It’s a pleasant and inclusive way to ensure that both the regular congregation and visitors feel included and connected, and humanizes the church-going experience.
Inclusion really is the best part of the Lewis Chapel’s atmosphere and message. While there, I was made to feel like a part of the group, and Pastor Reed commented on my presence by saying, “Come on down and fellowship with us if that’s all your report says, it’s enough.”