Quiet prayer

Reno Nazarene Church

Pastor Jerry Beck gesticulates the Good News.

Pastor Jerry Beck gesticulates the Good News.

Photo By David Robert

Reno Nazarene Church, 740 Del Monte Lane, 853-2018. Services are held on Sundays at 10:45 a.m. and Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Reno Nazarene Church

740 Del Monte Ln.
Reno, NV 89511

(775) 853-2018

The Reno Nazarene Church can be found at 740 Del Monte Lane, where it sits unobtrusively away from the street. A modest cross stands before a simple, white, one-story building, where the light from within streams out onto an icy parking lot.

Prayer service and the youth group meet on Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. Parents and children arrive bundled against the cold and chat away merrily, greeting Pastor Jerry Beck as they enter the church.

Beck is a kind-faced and elderly man who has dedicated more than 45 years of his life to being a pastor. His good-natured manner is not something that many careers offer after so many years of devotion.

The teenagers leave their parents to be with their friends in the youth group, and the parents head into the sanctuary for prayer services. The sanctuary is a large, softly lit room, lined with Christmas lights and green wreaths with red ribbons.

On the back wall of a stage is a built-in enclosure for baptisms. A large cross draped in green cloth is affixed to the wall above the baptistery. Just above the cross there’s a circular stained glass window, but the image is obscured by the darkness outside.

There are about 110 blue, squishy chairs arranged in rows facing the small rise for the stage. Two pianos, a drum set, bongos and a Christmas tree are enclosed on the stage by a pyramid of speakers and wooden prayer benches. As the people enter, continuing their hellos, a solitary piano player who is languidly plays, and everyone gradually takes a seat.

There is no introduction to begin the service. People gradually bow their heads in solitary prayer while the piano player continues, until eventually a song is seemingly stumbled upon and sung from memory by those present. The singing is brief, and the room slowly becomes silent as even the piano player bows his head to private prayer. A quiet settles over the room that stretches on for minutes, and then a woman stands and offers a brief prayer for peace that is answered by more then one soft “amen,” throughout the entirte room.

Once the quiet has been broken, other people stand and offer their prayers for loved ones and their hopes for the church and the community. There are about 20 people present, and one by one, most openly offer their concerns for their friends and families. The length of time between each person’s audible prayers can sometimes last up to five minutes, where the only sound in the room is the wind outside, which makes the building shake and causes its timbers to creak.

Sporadically, in the midst of these prayers. a teenage crow-like cry erupts from across the hall, causing a brief spell of united laughter. The somber mood is broken, and people begin to joke and encourage one another as they take prayer requests and finally offer praise for previously answered prayers. Once again, the piano player begins, songs are sung, and Beck eventually stands and gives a final closing prayer after about an hour.

The Sunday service begins at 10:45 a.m., and typically lasts an hour and a half. Beck says he doesn’t preach much during these services, and they are mostly singing.

The church offers a two-hour study group about personal finances on Sundays at 6 p.m. Beck made a special point to say that everyone is welcome at this church, even people whose personal lifestyle choices he disagrees with: “I can’t agree with my wife half the time.”