Wednesday, April 19, 2006

House of Mercy

I wanted to use this forum to thank Mark for sending the CD to introduce me to his church.

Mark is not only my cousin but has also been a great friend for many years and, if he doesn't know it, a spiritual influence in my life. He was the one who was instrumental in introducing me to liturgical worship styles.

House of Mercy is in St. Paul, Minnesota. Their site states...

House of Mercy offers a discriminating blend of high church and low, of tradition and innovation, sincere worship and healthy skepticism.

Their worship style is folk music and is quite enjoyable. I was surprised to see Gordon Gano on their "Welcome Visitors" CD. (I'll make my readers look him up).

1 comment:

Cousin Mark said...

Hey, Joel -

What a pleasant surprise to see the House of Mercy post on your blog - and to read your comments about my influence on your spiritual life.

Yes, Gordon Gano is part of our extended church family. In many ways he fits the House of Mercy profile - devout Christian misfits. Other well-known musicians with some connection to the church also fit that description to some extent - Michelle Shocked, Charlie Louvin and Ralph Stanley.

Mostly, House of Mercy isn't very liturgical - although we do use an incense burner and have communion every week. There's now a new congregation in Minneapolis called Mercy Seat that is sort of a sister church to us (one of their pastors used to be one of our pastors). Mercy Seat is supported by the Lutherans so is more liturgical. The comparison is that they are higher church with outstanding jazz music; we are lower church with gospel/folk music. But we both appeal to devout misfits :-)

My favorite things about House of Mercy are their Bible studies and other study groups (best I've ever been a part of) and the fact that I can have lunch with any of their pastors and have honest discussions of difficult questions that most pastors wouldn't want to consider.

I do miss classical church music from time to time, but since House of Mercy meets on Sunday evenings, I just go to a morning service somewhere else when I want to hear good organ and choral music. Probably my favorite alternative is Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis - the largest traditional Lutheran church building in the U.S. and one of the largest Lutheran congregations. The principal conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra (Osmo Vanska) is an active member there, so he holds them to a high standard of classical musical excellence.

But day in and day out, House of Mercy is the right place for Betty and me.

Cousin Mark