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Observation Assignment Site Location: Concordia Lutheran Church Upstairs Sanctuary and Family Life Center Assignment One

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Commented [JF1]: Wow! This was a fabulous assignment that certainly went well above and beyond the requirements. Your descriptions were well-developed, your map of the location were really informative, and your explanations of various artifacts, actors, discourse communities, and literacy practices were fantastic. For the final portfolio, I have one addition I would like for you to incorporate: Commented [JF2R1]: Add some sort of captioned picture slideshow of your figured world. This would be an easy addition using some of the features from the Wix portfolio site. You may think about this slideshow as a way of getting more people to visit or to get some members that have left to return.

Description of the Locations: Location One (The Church Sanctuary): The church congregation was first assembled in 1881, with 81 people representing the first members of the congregation. The upstairs sanctuary was first built in the 1920s and was rebuilt in the 1940s after a fire destroyed most of the church. Most of the parts of the sanctuary are from this era. There are two rows of approximately 15-20 pews that sit 15 people in each pew. The aisle runs down the center of the rows of pews, and leads up the front of the sanctuary where there is a small baptismal font. At the front of the church there are three steps that lead up to the altar, the pulpit and off to the right and left sides there is the choir seating area. At the back of the sanctuary, which is formally known as the vestibule, there is a welcoming area that is adorned with two large wooden doors that open up to fifteen concrete steps leading out of the sanctuary. In the vestibule there is a small flight of wooden stairs that leads up to the small balcony area. In the balcony area there are approximately ten pews. Location Two: (The Church Fellowship Area/ Family Life Center): The family life center is connected to the sanctuary by a long hallway that houses a coat closet, and restrooms. The Family Life Center, or FLC, was first built in the 1940s. In 2001, the Council proposed the idea of a new Family Life Center, which would further encompass the growing congregation. In 2002 a plan for the new FLC was approved, and a contractor was hired. After almost ten months of construction, the Family Life Center that we have now was finished in July of 2003. The new Family Life Center includes a new classroom wing with eight classrooms for Sunday school, a parlor, an adult classroom area, a large fellowship area, and a kitchen. In the fellowship area, which will be referenced the most is a large room that can house approximately 25-30 tables that seat 8 people each. During most fellowship times, half of the room will be filled with tables, with a large open area on the other half for recreation purposes. The room also houses a full size basketball court, or can be arranged for just a half court. The basketball goals are attached to the ceiling and can be raised when not in use. At the front of the FLC there is a large wooden stage that has two small staircases that are used for access to the stage. There is a large curtain that can be manipulated using a pulley system to open or close it. Behind the stage there are two rooms used for storage. Note: Please see maps for a visual complement to the descriptions.

Observation Assignment Site Location: Concordia Lutheran Church Upstairs Sanctuary and Family Life Center Maps/Pictures:

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Observation Assignment Site Location: Concordia Lutheran Church Upstairs Sanctuary and Family Life Center

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This is the family life center, from the back left corner.

This is one of the entrance to the church. Off the left is the Sanctuary, and to the right is the entrance to the Family Life Center. If you enter through the red doors shown, there is a hallway that leads to the FLC also.

This is the kitchen area. The metal scrolling door seen in the right hand side of the picture is the same metal door seen in the picture of the FLC

Observation Assignment Site Location: Concordia Lutheran Church Upstairs Sanctuary and Family Life Center Definition of important terms:

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Figured world- A social environment that operates on its own certain rules for behavior and communication. Listed below is a summary for the rules and conventions for the figured world that I chose to observe.

The figured world that I intend to observe is a Lutheran Church, Concordia Lutheran Church. I will observe first during the early service, then during the fellowship and breakfast time, and later throughout a Sunday School Classroom. Some of the expected discourse communities include families, couples, and many people whose families have attended the church for a long period of time. There will also be choir members, musicians, ushers, and communion helpers. In a church environment, it is appropriate to wear formal style clothing such as dresses, skirts, or nice khakis or jeans with a formal shirt that does not have writing on it (i.e. not a t-shirt). Shoes should be dress shoes, heels or flats, and flip flops and tennis shoes are typically not considered appropriate. People are expected to arrive on time, and if late to enter the room quietly to avoid interruption. Throughout the service it is expected that people remain seated (unless asked to stand), and refrain from talking, eating, and using a cell phone, laptop, gaming device or pager. During prayer people should bow their heads, close their eyes, and it is acceptable that some people may fold their hands for prayer. In a song, people are expected to stand, open the hymnal and read or sing along with the congregation. It is also expected that people will respond to the Pastor or Minister during responsive readings. During fellowship time talking is acceptable and encouraged. During any time in a church setting (whether it be during service or a church event) swearing and rude gestures is entirely inappropriate. During any church outing, such as Christmas caroling, a youth event, or choir practice, less formal dress is acceptable, as long as clothing is not promiscuous. Basic rules for behavior will vary based on the situation and the formality of the church and congregation, however; it is widely recognized that the church should be a welcoming and friendly environment for returning members and newcomers alike. Literacy Practices Ways of communication, could be spoken, or written.

Verbal- Verbal communication exists throughout the church in many ways. This will include conversations between people, the pastor preaching, and singing. Written- Written communication will exist in the form of bulletins and announcements that are produced weekly, hymnals, and posters or bulletin boards. Actors- These are people who play important roles in the certain figured world. Listed below are actors would are significant in this figured world, throughout the observation notes, other actors may be referenced.

Pastor- Rev. Kenneth Reed has been at Concordia Lutheran Church for ten years. He is middleaged, and the father of three sons. He has a caring personality and converses individually with many of the members. Pastor Kens role in this figured world is a leader, and he adheres to the appropriate professionalism expected with his role as the leader.

Observation Assignment Site Location: Concordia Lutheran Church Upstairs Sanctuary and Family Life Center

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Pianist- The main pianist of the congregation is Sarah Brandt. She serves the role of an assistant leader, because she leads most of the hymns. She is well natured and has an even disposition. Congregation/Members- The congregation will vary by day, and by the time of the service. The congregation serves many roles. The members are there to learn, socialize, worship. Throughout the notes, I may refer to individual members by their names or by a general description. Artifacts- These are either physical items, or emotions/feelings that are specific to the figured world. Listed below are the main artifacts associated with the church and the church environment.

The idea of coming together for worship- This is a very important artifact of the church. It is the reason that people come to church. This is the main binding factor that makes very church congregation different in their own unique way. This way of thinking is what created religion in the first place, and remains the supporting aspect through the years. The altar and pulpit- The altar and the pulpit represent the church environment in many ways. The pulpit is the point from which a minister gives his sermon and represents to many people worship, teaching, learning, and brings together the room to make it more than a room, but a sanctuary. The altar is also a unifying factor of the sanctuary that makes the room a holy room in which worship occurs. Stained Glass Windows- The stained glass windows that are present in the Sanctuary are important artifacts because these windows are all in memory or honor of people that once attended the church. These are special to many families of those that are honored by the windows. Portrait of Jesus- At the front of the sanctuary, above the altar, there is a large stained glass window portraying Jesus praying, with his disciples behind him. This large portrait can be lit up from behind, and is always turned on during the service. Many people of the church feel that this is an important artifact to the church because it represents that Jesus Christ is always with us. The Communion Articles- This consists of two cups, and two trays. These are used to administer communion to the congregation on certain Sundays in the church calendar. These artifacts represent the last supper, and all that Jesus Christ gave for us to be saved. This is a constant reminder of why we are Christians. The Bible and Other Readings- This refers to the Holy Bible and any other Christian readings that may be used during a church service or event. These are extremely important artifacts because it is what Christians use to base their everyday lives off of, and it is what is used as a reference and reason why people believe in Christianity. The Baptismal Font- The baptismal font is an important artifact of the Christian, and more specifically, the Lutheran Church. Baptism is the way that Christians show that they are committed to the following Jesus Christ and leading godly examples. The Lutheran church is a little bit different than some other Christian churches, because as Lutherans people are baptized

Observation Assignment Site Location: Concordia Lutheran Church Upstairs Sanctuary and Family Life Center

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as babies, and their parents are the first source of teaching, and later in life when children are older and mature enough to accept their faith for themselves, they are confirmed in Christ. Discourse Communities- These are groups of people that share interests and ways of communication. The discourse communities listed below are groups that appear commonly in a church setting, however; during the observation notes I may refer to other groups of people, or use different names for the groups listed.

The congregation- The congregation includes everyone who is an active member of the church. This includes the pastor, and all other leaders. This may also refer to the group of people present during one service, or the entire group of people that are members of the church. The shared way of communicating is that with familiarity and sometimes formality, communication is mostly verbal but may be through email, writing or other ways of communication. There are many subgroups of discourse communities, and some of the most obvious and prominent are listed below: Older People- The older people in the congregation tend to group together and remember the past together. The older people of the church have typically attended for many decades and usually their families also attend the church. Youth- The youth is typically seen grouped together during fellowship time, and during Sunday school. The youth range in age from 5-18 and sometimes come together as a large group or may break up further into small groups based on age. New Members- Typically, the church will receive anywhere from 10-20 new members every year. This may be through new births, marriages, or transfers from other church congregations. The new members usually know a few people and tend to stick closely to those that they know. People with titles- This group of people includes the Pastor, the Pianist, the choir directors, and Sunday school teachers. This may include others that have titles throughout the church community. These people have each done something to earn a title and are usually thought of as leaders to some extent within their specialty. The Council- The council are people who have been voted by the congregation to serve as a board that votes on issues that occur in the church environment, each person serves a term of three years. People within this group may also fall into the people with titles group as well. Some people may seem a bit proud of their title and try to possess more authority than the title dictates. Their shared way of communication is usually to meet and speak about upcoming events, decide on budgets, and to vote on repairs, and other issues.

Observation Assignment Site Location: Concordia Lutheran Church Upstairs Sanctuary and Family Life Center The Interview-

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This interview was conducted over email with the head pastor at Concordia Lutheran Church. 1. Tell me about your experiences with Concordia Lutheran Church? I have been Concordias pastor for 10 years and I continue grow in my understanding of how this congregation functions socially as a community. Because of the churchs setting in a rural, farming area of Rowan County, most of our members are connected by family relationships. Although there are some exceptions, it is mostly family because most residents in our immediate area have lived on or near family land for generations. In a city-urban setting the population is more transient, but much of the area surrounding Concordia remains in the hands of families. When I arrived 10 years ago the main textile employer closed leaving 6,000 employees without jobs. At that time some residents took advantage of offers to turn family land that was not being farmed into subdivisions for new homes. However, as the economy worsened, those plans quickly eroded and the proposed influx of new residents ended. Looking back, I can see clearly how Concordia remains (for the most part) a family-relational church. What are some significant differences you notice about the way people act, socialize, and/or worship depending on the different service times? (Early service versus late service) These family relationships (for good or bad) are sometimes brought into the church setting. For example: adult siblings in a land dispute, divorced couples who both remain at the church trying to co-exist in the same congregation, one family who feels wronged by another, business disputes and other family conflicts that are recent or multi-generational. Socially, individuals react differently based on their family of origin. Some immediate family members in a shaky relationship may attend different worship services; or at a church gathering in the Family Life Center they may sit on opposite sides of the room; or in some church functions, one family may simply not attend if they know the other will be there. In general it appears that those who attend the early service are slightly older, fewer young families, and are less involved in other aspects of church ministries. What is different about the way people act, socialize, and/or worship at non-service events (such as fellowship) than at a service? Many families are very rigid in their routines when it comes to church: sitting in or near the same pews each Sunday in worship; talking to the same people each week immediately after worship (because they share the same space week after week). One thing I have noticed in recent years is that at breakfast between the worship services some members usually stand in the same area or eat at the same tables. Then, when a visitor or new member comes in, they are rarely invited to sit at a table. Interestingly enough, Concordia does a wonderful job at making visitors feel welcome. This is evident in the new members we continue to receive. However, our retention rate is poor because we are unable to assimilate them into the life of the congregation. Although some new members are quite social and blend easily into the life of the church, the larger percentage (especially those who know very few people) could benefit from an intentional effort from Concordia to make them feel like family. I call it the Wal-Mart Greeter Effect: Being warmly greeted by an employee when a customer comes through the door means nothing if the other employees in the store ignore you while theyre shopping.

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Observation Assignment Site Location: Concordia Lutheran Church Upstairs Sanctuary and Family Life Center 4.

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If you could change anything about the services, events, or gatherings within the church what would you change? I believe that if Concordia only had one Sunday morning service it would create a greater sense of community within the congregation. Although it might be uncomfortable for those who have conflicts (related to business issues outside the church or family issues outside the church), one service would go a long way toward some form of reconciliation and unity in faith. Furthermore, it would make it easier for members at the early service and late service to become more acquainted with each other. Example of a frequent comment: I dont know who they are. They must go to the early service. What is the most significant impact of socialization in a church setting? Worship. I always say that worship is central to who we are as a community. It is the most important part of our life together and shapes our identity inside and outside the walls of the church. If we lose that focus then we are nothing more than a community recreation center, a playground, a YMCA branch, a Supper Club, a private cemetery, or a local service organization. The impact of socialization at Concordia is being transformed by Gods Word in worship within the church so that we can be an instrument of Gods transforming compassion and love outside the church.

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The Observations: Observation One Sunday, September 1, 2013 8:15 AM-9:30 AM Location: Church Sanctuary 8:15 AM - People arrive from either the side entrance or from the back (vestibule). As people arrive they gather their bulletins and announcements from the tables located at either of the two entryways. People converse around the entrances and in the pews and aisle. 8:20 AM- The acolyte (the person who lights the candles up front) arrives and prepares candles and ensures that the area is ready. The ushers prepare the altar for communion that will take place during the service. They prepare by bringing in the communion articles and covering them with cloths. 8:25 AM- The pastor enters the room. He speaks with the pianist to ensure that she is ready for the service. He offers welcomes to members and guests still arriving, and puts the final preparations on his service and gathers any last minutes announcements from members. People begin to find their seats and conversations dwindle down. 8:30 AM- Everyone has found their seats at this point, and the pianist begins the prelude and the acolyte walks out and begins lighting the candles.

Observation Assignment Site Location: Concordia Lutheran Church Upstairs Sanctuary and Family Life Center

Foster

8:35 AM- The pianist finishes up the prelude and the pastor stands and welcomes the congregation and guests to the church and to the service. He relays important announcements such as new babies, marriages, deaths, and upcoming events that happened after this weeks bulletins were printed. Before beginning the service he invites the congregation to join him in prayer. 8:40 AM- The service begins with a hymn, after the hymn there is a reading from the scripture and a responsive reading is shared between the congregation and the pastor. 8:45 AM- A few late members enter the room, several people turn to see who is entering the room. 8:50 AM- There is a short childrens sermon, and then the pastor begins his sermon. 8:55 AM- A baby begins to cry, and the mother takes the child and leaves the room. There are currently two people asleep. The pastor continues his sermon. He makes references to the bulletin and several people make notes in notebooks or along the margins in the bulletin. He makes small jokes and tells relevant stories throughout his sermon. 9:00 AM- The mother with a now sleeping baby reenters the room. The pastor concludes his sermon with a prayer and a hymn begins. The congregation stands and joins the hymn. The pastor takes a sip of water. 9:05 AM- The acolyte comes to the front of the altar and meets the ushers. The acolyte hands the ushers two gold shallow bowls. The ushers then walk to the pews and begin taking up the offering. As the offering is taken up, a church member comes to the front of the church and begins a song. 9:10 AM- At the ending of the song, the congregation applauds, and the ushers bring the plates with the offering back to the front of the church, and at this time the pastor prepares the acolyte and the helpers for communion. 9:15 AM- People file to the front of the church to receive communion. As they take communion, they are blessed by the pastor. Some people chose to dip their fingers in the baptismal font and trace a cross across their foreheads. Throughout the communion the pianist plays a hymn. A few members join in and sing the hymn. 9:25 AM- The pastor finishes up the sermon with a prayer and by thanking the congregation for attending the service. He reminds the members of the upcoming events and invites them to the breakfast that is taking place downstairs in the fellowship hall. 9:30 AM- As people leave through one of two exits they are greeted by ushers and/or the pastor. The ushers and the pastor converse with individuals and shake hands as they leave.

Observation Assignment Site Location: Concordia Lutheran Church Upstairs Sanctuary and Family Life Center Observation Two Sunday, September 1, 2013 9:45 AM 10:15 AM Location: Family Life Center (Fellowship Area)

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9:45 AM- There is a long line with approximately 45 people at the kitchen receiving window. These people are waiting in line to get breakfast. The breakfast is a buffet style where individuals can approach the window and get the food they want. The choices are donuts, cheese and butter toast, a variety of fruits, a variety of juices, milk, and coffee. The people standing in line are having conversations with others in line. While others wait in line, some people have already gotten their food and are sitting at the rounds tables. The people here are also talking with one another and some young children are running around. 9:50 AM- Many people continue to speak to one another. The pastor is walking around the room talking with people at different tables. People continue to stand in line for the breakfast. Some people are just now arriving, and some are leaving. 10:00 AM The technology guy begins lowering the projection screen, and pulls up lyrics to the hymn that we will sing later in the fellowship time. The line for breakfast begins dying down, and some people return for seconds or for refills of their drinks. There is a table set up selling tickets to fundraiser that will occur in the next week. 10:05 AM- - The person designated for announcements this week stands up at the front of the fellowship area and addresses the crowd. He tells of important announcements, and then shares a prayer. 10:10 AM- The crowd sings a hymn, while the lyrics are posted on the projector screen at the front of the Family Life Center, in front of the stage. 10:15 AM- Everyone is dismissed to go to their Sunday school classrooms that are located in the classroom wing of the Family Life Center. Adults take the smaller children and babies to the nursery. Most of the room is cleared out, though some people continue to stand and talk. Some people are leaving, and some people are heading to their classrooms.

Observation Assignment Site Location: Concordia Lutheran Church Upstairs Sanctuary and Family Life Center Observation Three Sunday, September 1, 2013 10:15 AM 11:00 AM Location: 1st-4th Grade Sunday school Classroom

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10:15 AM- Children file into the room and take their seats around the small, short, rectangular table that is located in the center of the room. There are ten children ranging from first to fourth grade. 10:20 AM- The Sunday school teacher takes up offering from the children and fills out the accompanying packet that notes how many children are present, how much offering was collected, the date and the teachers name. One of the older children leaves the room to take the packet to the offering drop off box. 10:25 AM- The teacher begins her lesson with a prayer, and most of the children bow their heads and close their eyes. She spends approximately 3 minutes telling a short bible story and then the children respond with questions. 10:30 AM- They continue to ask questions and the teacher also asks questions to ensure their understanding of the story. The complete a small activity in the Sunday school handouts that complement the story that was told. 10:45 AM- The teacher explains instructions for a small craft that will represent the bible lesson for Sunday school and for the services of the day. 10:50 AM- The children continue to work on their crafts and make small talk with other children and the teacher. The teacher asks about school, family, and friends. 10:55 AM- The children beginning finishing up their crafts and start cleaning up the scraps of paper and glue. As it gets closer to 11 AM, some children line up by the door to wait for their parents. 11:00 AM- The bell to signal the end of Sunday school rings, and some of the older children leave the room. Some children wait for their parents to come by and pick them up. The teacher cleans up the rest of the craft, turns off the lights and leaves the room.