well known in the community.
"She has helped move the church into open minded theology. It's
not the same week after week; it's a worship experience," Henderson
The programs the church offers are expansive.
"Starting this month we're having a full-moon drumming. It's
exactly what it says [referring to the flier in her hand], you come
and you drum."
Though the church was built in 1943 and its sanctuary built in
1963, its ideas are very up to date. In the sanctuary there is a wall
that has been adopted as a prayer wall.
"On selected Sundays we encourage parishioners to take a rock and
put their prayer concerns into the rock or a flower or whatever
symbol they have chosen."
The congregation is able to add to the wall with symbols and
community support prayers.
The inception of the wall began about four or five months ago when
Taize was introduced to the church, which is a meditation, music,
chanting and song-based service held once a month.
Taize was founded in 1940 in a small eastern village in France,
whose community of brothers and nuns were cohesive toward furthering
religious unity. Its popularity has become global.
The Labyrinth is another spiritual outlet at the church. It is a
walking spiritual meditation -- a sacred maze to pray or chant or do
what is needed to do in that space.
There is also a hands-on type of alternative healing using
energy-based techniques to balance and align the human energy field.
Henderson emphasized that the church is broad minded and that it
fosters that God is bigger than one religion.
The church has a book club that meets once a month and a Zen
meditation group that also meets monthly, as well as seasonal Bible
and book studies.
"We just finished the Dali Lama's Book, 'Ethics for the New
Millennium.' We embrace all religions."
She feels the church is moving in a direction that is positive for
"Thursday there is a meditation class and a yoga class just
starting. That's the direction the church is moving in, that's the
way the church is leading us," she said.
It's community-based church that participates in services such as
helping the Friendship Shelter and other entities.
The congregation owns it and everyone gets a vote and a say in the
direction the church is going.
"We are very congregational to our approach, hence our name,"
There are many upcoming events that the public is welcome to
attend. Aug. 24 will be the annual Bargain Festival in the church
parking lot. It annually raises $5,000 to $10,000.
Information: (949) 494-8061 or go online to www.lbncc.org. The
Neighborhood Congregational Church is at 340 St. Ann's Drive.
* SUZIE HARRISON is a reporter for the Laguna Beach Coastline
Pilot. She may be reached at 494-4321.