As the people worshipped, they could hear birds sing above a faint orchestra of bugs, smell the light fragrance of crepe myrtles and feel the gentle breeze. The congregants sat and mediated on God's word in the Green Cathedral.
"People enjoy worshipping outside," said the Rev. Lisa Bandel, pastor of Davidsonville United Methodist Church in Maryland. Church members created the Green Cathedral outdoor worship area 25 years ago at the end of the long driveway leading to the back road of the church property.
Beginning in May, weather permitting, people have an opportunity to worship outside for the 8:30 a.m. service. The time changes to 9:30 a.m. in June and for the rest of the summer. Others attend the 10:30 a.m. service in the church's sanctuary.
Bandel said the Green Cathedral service draws people of all ages. It's more casual, and folks dress in comfortable clothing. Sometimes members of other churches join the Davidsonville congregation for the outdoor service.
Benches with backs provide comfortable seating. A built-in platform and sound system serve the praise band that leads the contemporary- style worship. There is even an altar with a cross, she said.
Bandel said the worship space is also used for a sunrise service on Easter Sunday and for other special services, such as weddings and confirmations. It offers the perfect setting for a blessing of the animals.
The calming, outdoor environment also offers a place for people to pray, meditate, relax and simply enjoy the beauty of daises, black-eyed susans and chase bush flowers.
AT A GLANCE
Davidsonville United Methodist Church | 819 W. Central Ave, Davidsonville, MD 21035 | 410-798-5511 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.dumc.net | Rev. Lisa Marie Bandel | Average attendance: 152 | Baltimore-Washington Conference
"It Worked for Us" is written by Christine Kumar, a freelance writer and administrator, Baltimore Metropolitan District, Baltimore-Washington Conference. Send story ideas to email@example.com. Find more "It Worked for Us" at Interpreter OnLine, www.interpretermagazine.org.