Hundreds of people poured into the little theater on Park Avenue in Lake Park on Friday evening, July 15, 2016. Programs were passed out and the stage was lit up with a full band ready to perform. But it wasn’t a usual performance at Kelsey Theater that night. It was church. From confession to Bible readings to sermons to communion, an actual church service took place.
Far from a serene, monastic atmosphere, the place was packed with palpable joy and a feeling of celebration. Some grabbed a beer and some munched on popcorn as they mingled around the theater hugging friends and laughing together.
The service started with confession via Marvin Gaye’s pop hit, Heard it through the Grape Vine and continued with Higher Ground by Stevie Wonder, ending with the words, “God is gonna show you higher ground.”
The Bar Church is hosted by Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in Juno Beach, directed by their intern, Pastor Ryan Arnold. Holy Spirit’s band, Doctrine played the familiar tunes to perfection.
Senior Pastor, Frank Wagner, stood back to allow this new generation to do their thing, and didn’t step up to the alter…or the stage…until the end of the evening to close in prayer.
Readings from Genesis, Psalms, and Colossians preceded the sermon, preached by Pastor Ryan. Children heard their own sermon as they gathered around a painter at the front of the theater who was in the process of painting a picture that would be auctioned to benefit a local charity.
People lined up for communion as the band struck up the familiar Aretha Franklin tune, Say a Little Prayer and the service ended with another Stevie Wonder hit, Signed, Sealed, Delivered, “Here I am, signed, sealed, delivered. I’m Yours!”