Last Sunday I had the blessing of visiting the venerable Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, with friends.
Since my friend Joyce sings in the choir, we attended their usual service at 8:30. The service opened with a favorite congregational hymn of mine, "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise," stirringly sung by all to the accompaniment of the beautiful pipe organ. The organ offertory of Mendelssohn's Sonata 1 was a delight, and the choral selection, "What Wondrous Love Is This," was excellent.
Senior pastor Dale Hummel delivered the morning sermon on forgiveness, from Luke 3, and the service concluded with the celebration of communion, a second offering (taken monthly for the church's compassion ministry), and a pastoral prayer.
I joined my friends' Sunday school class but slipped out briefly just to sample the "contemporary" service, which began at 9:45 (the church offers a Saturday evening contemporary service, a single a Sunday morning traditional service, and then two more contemporary services at 9:45 and 11:00). As you can see, the two services offer distinctive experiences.
After our class, my hosts gave me a tour of the main level of the facilities. Above is Lydia's Cafe.
I especially rejoiced to see the prayer wall, in a room of its own, with slips of paper stuck in the cracks of the wall. Unlike the Kotel in Jerusalem, these prayers are not only placed there by praying people but are also sometimes removed and read so others can pray too. Sweet idea.
Wooddale Church began as The Wayside Chapel in Richfield, Minnesota, in 1943. Leith Anderson served the church for 35 years as senior pastor (1977-2011). It was a joy to worship, learn, and fellowship with the saints of this lovely church which has campuses in Eden Prairie, Edina, and Minneapolis (Loring Park).