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Forest Hills


Bertram Melbourne

Saturday-Service Attendance

about 80

Group-Study Length

90 minutes

Service Length

2 hours

Sample Worshipper Dress

black suit, blue Oxford shirt, green tie

Solutions for Insomnia

11 (as provided on health-tips flier)

Congregational Fervor

Near the beginning of the service, congregation members take a few moments to greet one another heartily, shaking hands and wishing each other a “happy Sabbath.” A white wall behind the pulpit is used as an enormous screen, onto which are projected the words to the hymns, such as the Dylanesque-titled opener, “Once in Royal David’s City #149.” During the offering portion of the service, the screen is used to display the image of a dollar bill as aides pass the collection plates. HHHHH

Food for the Soul

In a recent sermon titled “God Makes Me Laugh,” Melbourne discussed evidence of God’s well-developed sense of humor in the Nativity story—such as the virgin birth. “If you were engaged and found your [fiancée] pregnant, but there had been no hanky-panky, then she looked into your eyes and says, ‘The Holy Spirit did it to me,’ how would you feel?” he asked.HHHHH

Food for the Body

In keeping with the health-minded beliefs of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, the potluck lunch presented after the service was entirely vegetarian. And, with congregation members representing almost 40 different countries, the food was anything but bland. A recent luncheon included an extremely tasty chana masala, a spicy vegetable stew, and lasagna. As one kitchen organizer put it, “This is the food you will eat in heaven when you go.” HHHHH

Overall Worship Power

At the potluck luncheon, many congregation members commented on the pride they felt in attending Capital Memorial. One woman took time to describe the important role that the church’s youth programs had played in her son’s life, while others spoke about the impact that the people in the church community had on their lives. “If you needed to describe this church with one word,” a young lady said unprompted, “that word would be ‘diversity.’”HHHHH

—Aaron Leitko