Restoration Church was described in a Google search as having a predominantly black congregation. Joe and I had only been to one other church this year with such a demographic, so we put this one on our list for Sunday. We were not disappointed.
Largely, the service at Restoration is very similar to the half dozen non-denominational praise churches we have been to this year. The service starts with several songs delivered by a small band and several singers. The words are contemporary and they are shared with the congregation via two big screens and a PowerPoint presentation. The songs are followed by a few prayers which are not written down and seem to come more from stream of consciousness than memory of scripture. Restoration differs a little in that the congregation is a more expressive than some of the other praise churches. However, the similarities are more striking than the differences (a theme repeated throughout this year’s visits and one which I find comforting).
Restoration was welcoming but without the sermon it would not have made a great impression on me. However, Pastor Genette Howard was visiting from Charlotte this weekend and she was truly a gift. I’m certain she has worked long and hard perfecting her craft as she was clearly a gifted speaker. I love watching people do something they are good at and that is why I enjoyed Restoration Church.
Pastor Howard gave the first sermon of a series on Family. It was subtitled Learn the function, lose the friction. It seems the underlying theme of this series will be how important family is to so much of our society. Pastor Howard mainly discussed the husband/wife relationship during this hour. She said one thing that really struck me. Approximately 25% of African American families are headed by a traditional marriage (she defined this as a man and woman both in their first marriage). She further cited that the percentage rose to about 40% for Hispanic families, 50% for white families, and 70% for Asian families. Please understand that she was approximating and I am now recalling from memory her words so I may be a little off on the specifics. The striking part for me, however, was the major differences in these families. The answers to what these differences cause and what they are caused by, and hopefully how they can be addressed will presumably be addressed in this series of sermons. Complete answers were not provided in this one hour. However, I can absolutely say if I knew Pastor Howard was going to deliver the entire series, I would try hard to make several more sermons. For now, I am left just thinking about these differences and what they mean for our community.