The Church: First Presbyterian Church
Location: 210 N. Spring St., Murfreesboro
Pastor: Rev. John Hinkle Jr.
Service Times: Sunday Worship – 8:30 and 11:00 a.m.; Sunday School – 9:30 a.m.
Rating (1 – 5): Music – 4; Message – 4; Brotherly Love – 1; Overall Rating – 3
Oct. 19 was a celebration of children’s music and worshiping God at First Presbyterian Church of Murfreesboro (founded 1812). If you enjoy traditional hymns and worship with a challenging message, then First Presbyterian may be for you.
As a young, single Mensch, I stood out demographically in a congregation of young families and older members that may have been worshiping in that sanctuary since before the Korean War. My xenophobia was lessened by the music and message.
Rev. John Hinkle Jr.’s sermon was on Genesis 6, Noah’s instructions: “You shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female” (v. 19, RSV). More than just a children’s story, Noah is a challenge to all present. God does not usually speak to us directly in an omnipotent voice (which Rev. Hinkle demonstrated) and tell us to build an ark; we know what God’s will is for our life when we read Scripture: for example, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Then he told the story of the thief in the night who snatched the church bell from the old First Presbyterian sanctuary that was being used as a barracks for Union troops during the Civil War. (God does ask us to do some strange things, occasionally.)
Handbells, two children’s choirs and an adult choir directed by Kimberly Johnson?do they do this every Sunday? The music alone was worth the price of admission. If you like Bach and Beethoven with an African-American Spiritual thrown in for good measure, then you would enjoy Johnson’s musical direction. But if you like to wave your hands in the air while singing a chorus over and over, then First Presbyterian might not be right for you.
Overall, I give First Presbyterian a rating of 3 out of 5. it had an excellent message and music, and was an overall enjoyable worship experience. The Frozen Chosen may want to work on their friendliness to Samaritans, however.