Bring on the night
Colony Christian Fellowship
Colony Christian Fellowship625 Golden Ln.
Reno, NV 89502
The radio says it’s only 29 degrees Fahrenheit outside on Sunday night so it’s a dedicated group of parishioners who pull into the gravel parking lot of the Colony Christian Fellowship to hear Pastor Bruce Root’s sermon. The church is a 2-year-old, modest, single-story white building at 625 Golden Lane. This particular night is only the second Sunday evening service the church has ever held.
There is not much preamble to the proceedings. As the people arrive, they take any of the 150 or so stiff-backed, soft-seated blue chairs that face the stage. The sanctuary is well-lighted with a tapered ceiling, and the long white walls hold large windows or are covered with homemade signs praising God. The exception is a mural of the Last Supper that is nearly hidden toward the back of the hall.
Since this is a new service offered by the church, there is only a fraction of the usual number of attendants. One of those attending is 84-year-old Margaret Harjo, who ambles to a seat close to the stage wearing a shirt that says, “Homeland Security, fighting terrorists since 1492,” and depicts three Native Americans with bows and arrows.
The stage is set with musical instruments before a large cross made out of blocks of transparent glass, which tonight appears as a dark blue as it keeps the evening at bay. Two men tune their guitars. One is Arlan Melendez, a Washo community leader and CCF board member. Melendez steps forward to the microphone as the last few people arrive, and he leads the church in song.
Melendez makes music that sounds as though it could have been in a ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll love ballad, and though the crowd is sparse, everyone sings to the lyrics, which are projected by an overhead monitor onto the wall beside the cross. The bass player keeps up a steady cadence to the electric acoustic guitar that Melendez strums for about 15 minutes before the pastor takes the stage.
Pastor Root is a quiet and humble man when he is not behind the pulpit, so much so that people might find themselves taking a step closer to hear the soft-spoken man. This is not the case when the pastor stands before his congregation, and his enthusiasm and excitement for the Bible, which he holds in his hand while he speaks, is tangible.
Root’s sermon cites several books in the New Testament and focuses primarily on the nature of man. Root discusses the hypocrisy of those who ignore a statement written by the apostle John, “Be forgiven … but go and sin no more.” The service is relatively brief, lasting less than an hour, no tithe is collected, and soon the evening closes in prayer.
The church itself has been built and maintained primarily by grants and donations from the community and other churches. This has led to a strong sense of community among the congregation, and there did not appear to be a single person who was not known among the close-knit, though inviting congregation.
The church offers Sunday school in the mornings before the 11 a.m. worship service, and the evening service begins at 5:30 p.m. There is also a bread ministry available for the community as well as a Road to Recovery program offered Sunday at 6:30 p.m, to help anyone who might be struggling with addiction.