Like a rolling stone
Living Stones Church
Just as a mother would never (out loud) favor one of her children over another, I’d never say I prefer one religious experience over another. But I will admit a soft spot when it comes to Living Stones, a group that is currently housed over at Lawlor Events Center. Don Zimmerman was the first person to ever take me up on my offer to attend his church for the purposes of this column, and I was blown away by the quality of the music, the energy and fellowship of the group. That was when they were housed at Grace Community Church. It won’t be long ’til they move to their new space. (Yeah, they told me, but until they sign the papers, I promised not to tell.)
Having returned late from a weekend working in Berkeley, I was looking for an evening something, and I recalled the marqee sign over at Lawlor mentioning a 5 p.m. service on Sundays. It wasn’t until Hunter and I stopped at the information booth that I got a clue that Living Stones had moved from Grace. Just then, my old friend Zimmerman came up and welcomed us.
I hesitate to go too far into the description of the sanctuary, particularly because the group will move soon. I would guess there was seating for 250-300. When 5 o’clock arrived, I counted people at about 90, but by 5:15, there were probably 150, and that number kept growing. The room was mostly defined by black cloths hung behind and adjacent to the stage. There was room and instruments for a large band—two guitars, drums, two keyboards—a large screen for lyrics and graphics.
Also hanging from the black backdrop was a design made of human silhouettes arranged into a star to symbolize the topic of Pastor Harvey Turner’s sermon. There were more symbolic paintings in dark brown, tan and white along the draperies on either side of the stage. Things like hands reaching out, a book, hands holding fire, which represented the core values of the Living Stones Church.
Not to be too simplistic, but the service has basically two parts: The music before, which takes a little less than half the length of the 75-minute service, and then the sermon and final prayers. This time, the music was not led by Zimmerman’s band, Zimmerman, but by Anima Mundi. Very, very good Christian-style rock ’n’ roll. I’m sure the unrepentant musical emphasis is a big part of the success of the Living Stones church with the young people. I’m also fairly certain I was the second oldest person in the building. And make no mistake, they are successful—last weekend, they had more than a thousand congregants on Sunday for the first time.
Pastor Harvey spoke on the topic of community, focusing on scripture that used the words “one another.” He said the words are used in combination more than 90 times in the Bible, and he had a list of 20 that were flashed on the screen while he explained their nuances. He launched his sermon from John 13:1, the story of Jesus washing the apostles’ feet.
“We are created in the image of God, and God is a community in Himself: Father, Son, Holy Spirit,” the pastor said. “Wherever you have people, people have a longing for community. … The gospel community is based in the love of Jesus Christ.”
Young people with a Christian bent who like Christian music and who appreciate membership in a community of like-minded people will enjoy spending time at Living Stones Church.MUSIC