Going to church at Ecclesia – Chapter 1

Let me first say that blogging about my experience at Ecclesia in Houston feels a little like blogging about a first date! I’m uber-excited yet feel somewhat creepy discussing it in such an open, casual setting. However, I just can’t keep it to myself! 

From the moment we passed the church, I began to get giddy with excitement! I told Rae and Brandi that this was probably going to be a very unorthodoxed church experience and walking up to a ragged homeless looking man enjoying a cigarette at 8:50AM in the courtyard atrium was a great tone to set for unorthodoxed! Even in that moment though, I found myself with an uncontainable grin on my face! Describing exactly what took place that morning would come off formulaic and trite because on paper, the things that we saw and heard could happen just about anywhere. The difference is that it appears that the community of Ecclesia has found a way to truly live out what they’re saying and doing! I mean it’s who they truly are! I love this bio on the front of their bulletin: 

welcome to ecclesia and 2115 taft! this building is home to xNihilo Art Gallery, Taft Street Coffee and Books, and Hyde Park Studio. in addition to our Sunday services, these are tangible efforts toward our mission as a church: telling the story of God’s redemptive work in Jesus Christ. 

And sure enough, walking through the front doors you find yourself in a coffee house/bookstore. No, not a Starbucks, but remember what coffee houses used to look like before you went into a Starbucks? I know its hard to imagine 🙂 Quaint, rustic looking lounge area honestly probably bigger than a Starbucks lobby that had a pretty extensive library of books and CDs on one wall, an elevated seating area in one corner, an open computer against the back wall, and several chairs and tables scattered about. The back wall was rolled tin with wooden pallates hanging on them with art work on top. Besides congregants grabbing their coffee before heading into the service there was another worn looking gentleman resting in the cool air on a sofa trying to beat the heat! 

Talk about your first impression! I don’t care what I saw once I walked into that “sanctuary,” I already knew what it was going to feel and taste like and I was engaged! I was pretty sure that I wasn’t going to see a “sanctuary” but I knew it would be something that wasn’t extravagant or overwhelming yet at the same time I was going to be struck by it!


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