Updated: Apr 19
For this article I meant to visit multiple churches/services in the area but could only visit two of the many religious locations I wanted to explore in Eagle Rock. I made my approach, an attempt to go to any churches having mass on either Saturday or Sunday and found myself participating in two churches offering indoor services on the days I went. Before anyone wonders where to look, I suggest you first convene with your parents before going to any of these events, as not only would they advise caution against this sort of action but you should keep in mind of any religion your family is connected to already is probably where you’re going to anyways if you really want to participate in mass on Sundays. I also highly advise people to look for any services being held outside instead of indoors and to be mindful of COVID restrictions, even if the people there seem friendly. There are many other services such as the Christian Assembly or Outdoor Baptist Church in Eagle Rock that hold outdoor events. I do believe those events could hold just just as much water as the ones I visited.
The first visit I made was a service I had already known quite familiarly before wanting to write this article. The 8am Saturday service at Saint Dominic's, a catholic church located on 2002 Merton Ave or on a side street for the Eagle Rock Elementary School. Some of you may have gone there before the pandemic. When I got there I walked up to the side entrance and studied the view I was presented. It was not an empty church, there was the middle age and elderly sprinkled among the mass. I wasn’t surprised with the amount of people–however, there were no children among them. Of any age population the most vulnerable were there listening in front of our priest. My body hung at the door for being only five minutes late to service, I didn’t notice the seats that were empty in the back row besides the empty sections made to social distance everyone. The service continued as normal with singing, praying, and the priest motioning to get up from their knees. My only surprise was when the priest began giving out sacramental bread to us all. The singing through that church echoed off the dome above and rang in my ears as something stronger than fear.
The second location I visited was the Harvest Tabernacle Pentecostal church on Merton Ave, it’s a white building that can be mistaken to look small. I came here unannounced, trying to get into another service only to find out that they weren’t serving Sundays. I was asked to register with them through their website. To explain, most churches do have websites now and will probably ask you to register with them online before going to one of their services unannounced. During these troubling times you can especially see why they might want people to reserve the very few seats they have left to offer. The people working at Harvest Tabernacle were however very understanding with me and offered a seat if there was one available for me to use. It was an hour too early for service however, so I kindly asked when they would have it. The services for this church are usually served at 10:45 in the morning, and 6:30 in the evening for Sundays.
When I surfaced at 10:45, the service had started already. The sound of music permeated out of the walls from the church. I made my way into the nave or main hall if you will and found the people of faith singing to the live music being played. The church music bouncing off the walls and screaming into my ears didn’t make me grimace or squint my eyes as I stood over my chair of worship. Listening to this music extremely loud, enough to vibrate my entire body wasn’t uncomfortable in the slightest for me to experience, it was because I knew this music held a higher purpose so to speak. It was meant to raise this crowd of elderly and middle aged adults from their seats and to speak the holy lyrics our singer was speaking. There were about three toddlers as well; however, whether kids my age are really coming to church voluntarily is something only time will tell. As the music slowed we were greeted by our speaker to lead us through the sermon being made, it was coincidentally about being lost. Thankfully the message was not lost on me, about how the lord is searching for us all still.
He was replaced by another who really got into the parable about the lost coin this woman was trying to find, and connected this seemingly insignificant part of the bible to something about the creator very well especially as someone who is not immediately thinking about the lord at every waking moment. It was a very pleasant experience as a whole throughout the entire two hours I was there only thinking about time once, and I came out there with good feelings about how life can actually return as normal once covid ends. It will surely end, there is no doubt about it, when the masks come off and it becomes something only reminded of every year like the flu shot. The father even mentioned how he wished to see a full house of service someday again.
Again, I would like to state that these were only two of many churches or religions you can see in Eagle Rock, there are outdoor services, yet still I want you to talk with your parents before attempting to attend any of these services because they want the best for your health during this very precarious time. Furthermore it should be stated that there probably are benefits/disadvantages to an outdoors or indoors event, but that shouldn’t let your faith waver. Lastly I ask that anyone who is not very religious or an atheist at heart but still would like to experience what I have, that you’d still have to register with the churches online. Be very respectful as a guest in their houses of worship, understand that many of these people are struggling to get through these times just like you are and don’t need another problem putting them down just because they feel they have to. Overall my experience with the churches during COVID was nothing but good-feelings. The staff of both churches made the experience comfortable, and I can clearly see why people are going to church even with the risks at stake.