Sunday in the Life: Melissa


Hi there! I’m Melissa and I wanted to share with you a little glimpse of my Sunday morning at Grace Fellowship Newport. You know...kind of clear the air on what it’s like to bring your family to church in a movie theater. The good (nearly all of it), the bad (I’m going to be honest here .. some of the movie posters? A little iffy), and the ugly (watching my four year old eat a piece of popcorn from deep in the crevice of his seat on our first week at the theater).

Sunday morning. I search for matching socks, turn tights right-side-out, toast bread, remind everyone that they need to brush their teeth, wonder if that is mud on my eight-year-old’s sneaker or .. something more sinister, insist on jackets, start the van, stop the child who is trying to sneak the cat into my bag to bring with us, and stare forlornly at the full-but-cold coffee cup that I started the morning with and forgot about in favor of more pressing matters (brushing my teeth…you’re welcome). By nine-thirty, I am tying the bow on the back of a dress while herding my little ones outside.
We’re going to Newport. My two-year-old, with complete sincerity, calls it, “Newfart church” and the older kids clutch their sides in laughter. 



Our place of worship is a movie theater. I saw Batman here once. I have to physically restrain my kids from hurling themselves over the concession counter as we arrive, lured by the scent of popcorn and the sight of Red Vines. I see familiar faces, chatting together. Our Welcome Center and child-check-in desk are manned by pleasant faces, just outside of the main theater. I check the kids in first, which requires wrangling two of them out of the photo booth.

From this point on, it is easy to forget the whole theater thing. I drop three kids in their classes and hang on to the fourth (oh the tears when he thinks he will be leaving my side!). We worship in song and then either watch a sermon on the screen or sometimes live (this past week was Pastor Brad live). After the morning spent rushing, hurrying, driving, and promising my children that yes, some fine day we will  go to a theater to watch an actual movie, I am worshipping Jesus in this room. I’m holding my son, standing next to my husband, surrounded by brothers and sisters. It is a precious time of coming together. We are a couple of weeks into a series called “What’s the Bible All About?” I follow along, finding myself in these passages so ancient, yet so now. The Word, the Bible, it comes to life and is full of power and purpose. It doesn’t matter where I am – a theater or a cathedral. This is meant for us. I am full of gratitude for this space to gather in, for the people all around me who have moved into this adventurous place along with me – this church.

By the time the service ends and we’ve packed away all traces of “church”, it is lunch time and there are four little people bouncing around me, chatting about Sunday school and asking if friends can come to our house for the day (they can’t…sorry…you guys should’ve let me have that cup of coffee this morning).



Just a couple of blocks away is Strong’s Brick Oven Pizza. We bundle up and walk. Strong’s is…intimate. There is one table large enough to accommodate my family. While we wait, the kids watch the pizzas going in and coming out of the brick oven. The “brick oven” thing is not a lie. It is an actual brick oven right on the other side of the cashier’s counter. It is amazing pizza. The woman manning the oven told us that they make their sauce from scratch every morning. The Cosentino pizza brings tears to my eyes it’s so incredible. You’ve got to try it. And if you’ve still got room left after Strong’s, there happens to be a Graeter’s the next block up. I know, I know. It’s too much to comprehend. All of this goodness on one street.



We walk back to the garage, validate our parking (three bucks for the day, but smarter folks park along the street, which I’ve heard is no big deal), and head home. We’ll do this all again next Sunday. Because we love it. Because it’s our church home. Because we go to worship together. Because as we gather there, so does Jesus. 


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