Jeff Weston - PHL 160 - 4th Hour Web Site

Christianity Home Page

What I Did

For this 4th hour report I studied Christianity, specifically the Presbyterian division. On Sunday October 11th, 1998, I attended a Presbyterian worship service at the First Presbyterian Church : 114 SW Eighth Street, Corvallis, OR.

For my documentation of the event, I took home a program from the church service. Unfortunately, my digital camera doesn't take the greatest pictures.

The Program


I was invited to attend this service by some friends of mine. I drove all four of us to the church. I had been to the church before for OSU choir presentations, so I knew what to expect on the inside. Everyone was friendly. I didn't feel terribly out of place even though I didn't know all of the little rules of how to act accordingly.

My religious faith is Catholic, so I was able to compare the service to ones that I am more familiar with. First off, there was no creed, or statement of what everyone believed. Second there was no Eucharist. The version of "Our Father" that they prayed was different from the one I am used to. Partway through the service they had some time set aside for the children. Everyone of the appropriate age went to the altar and there the priest talked to them about various translations and interpretations of the Bible. The songs during the service were familiar and were easy to sing. I noticed we never kneeled at any point during the service. After the service was over, me and my friends left, and I drove home.

My Analysis

As I sat through this service, I kept on comparing it with Catholic services that I had been through. I noticed that many things were kept the same. Some things were added, some where changed a little bit, while some things were removed all together.

Many things I recognized as also part of a Catholic service. Asking forgiveness was a prominent portion at the beginning of the mass, very similar to Catholic services. The words may not be the same but the main idea is still there. The songs they sang were similar, and were just as easy to sing as songs from Catholic services. They were also just as beautiful. It was very clear that everyone was together to share their celebration and love for God. A sense of peace and joy was within the church, just as with Catholic churches.

There were a few things that I noticed were missing. I noticed almost immediately that there was no creed recited. This struck me as odd because to me that was a central part of the Catholic service. I decided that their beliefs were different, and so the creed that I am used to would have been inappropriate. This was especially noticeable when I realized there was no Eucharist during the service. I know the Eucharist to be the main reason for Catholics to gather together at Mass. We come to share the Body and Blood of Christ. I concluded that the Presbyterian tradition didn't require such a ritual to join together to celebrate their love for God.

It is interesting to see another division of Christianity. I was born and raised in a Catholic family. I've been Catholic all my life. "All religions divide", and Christianity is no exception. Seeing another tradition gives one a greater sense and understanding of their own beliefs.