Reflection 4/8

For my second congregation visit, I visited the Hope Center which is a local pentecostal church. This visit was incredibly eye-opening to me in terms of understanding how different groups experience and practice religion. Previously I had only experienced religious practices that I would classify as calm, introspective, and reserved. The service at the Hope Center was anything but. The service began with a high volume gospel style choir singing, and as the songs continued people began to cry out randomly, speak in tongues, and weep. It was incredibly emotional all around and the emotion in the room just continued to rise into the main sermon. By the end, I was incredibly overwhelmed and exhausted. My experience here made me very conscious of how differently people can experience religion. From what I understood, the congregation felt such strong emotional responses to the religious rituals being conducted, that they felt called to cry out and express the emotions they felt in response to the service. In a way it seemed like a very pure, whole experience of religion, where the congregants truly felt their religion and what the believed with incredible strength. Observing the service was an incredible experience, because I felt I actually, finally understood the impact religion has on people and their emotions