Take me to the River
The River Christian Church
Reno, NV 89523
There are places of worship in the Truckee Meadows that intrigue me by virtue of their look or location. Sometimes they just have that “thing” that makes them place high in my consciousness. I think the River Christian Church must have that “thing” because as a beautiful dawn broke on Sunday morning, I conflated the idea of beautiful natural setting and Filet of Soul, and the River leapt to my mind.
Hunter and I were welcomed at the door and directed around to the side of the sanctuary, where we could get a look at the classrooms and kids’ area. We get to a lot of different kinds of places, but I’m always interested in the similarities among church architecture.
The sanctuary is comfortable, and of a form-follows-function design. The audio-visual gear is to the rear. There are about 150 comfortably cushioned chairs arranged in four sections. On the walls, there are cool stainless steel wall sconces framed by large arched windows. The acoustic tile ceiling and walls are off-white. There are stands and instruments for the band. When we sat, it was drums, two guitars and a bass. Behind the walls was an impressive piece of decor: Essentially earth-colored stone tiles pieced together with an iridescent river running diagonal from top to bottom. There was a large charcoal gray cross at the front. To the upper right, there was a screen on which would flash song lyrics and key phrases from the minister’s sermon. There were bouquets of flowers on the edges of the “stage,” which wasn’t a stage per se, just kind of a raised part of the floor at the front of the sanctuary.
The church’s exterior and interior designs kind of exuded a feeling of mellowness and peace, definitely a meditative vibe. When the band came out, the energy turned up a bit. I guess soft rock or adult contemporary would best describe it. The 60 or so congregants rocked and sang along, clapping and lifting their hands. The dress was mixed from blue jeans and T-shirts to church casual.
After the group and the worshippers warmed up with a couple songs, Calvin Huntt led the congregation in learning a new song: “Lord, I honor You.” Then came church announcements regarding such things as a group-church meeting for Good Friday on March 21, a leadership meeting, family photos for the church directory and a request for help with some of the younger children.
Pastor Rod Halecky spoke on the topic, “Repelling the Rebel.” I found Pastor Halecky to be a somewhat unusual speaker, truth be told. He’s got a calm but powerful energy underpinning his speaking style. He’s not bombastic, but I got the feeling that kind of energy could be called at any time. He’s definitely got charisma and a keen sense of humor that kept people (even my 10-year-old) nodding and laughing at the appropriate moments (without that little pause where people try to figure out if it was actually a joke they heard). He used somewhat irrelevant stories from real life to make his spiritually relevant points. I guess you could say he radiated “sincerity,” but to use that word suggests that others don’t, and I’m not trying to say that. Suffice it to say, he kept the flock’s attention.
To put a fairly long sermon into a nutshell, Halecky said God judges the “spiritual” rebel pretty harshly. But submission to God’s plans must be an act of free will. For man to demand the right to make the final decision, in comparison to allowing God to make the final decision, is like a sheep (a particularly dumb but occasionally cunning mammal) demanding the right to make a final decision over the shepherd.
This is a mellow church with an interesting pastor and a cordial congregation. I think many Christians who are looking for a little Bible-based variety might enjoy checking out the River Christian Church.