An Emergent Church Wins Best House of Worship

This week’s 2009 Best of Indianapolis Nuvo came out.  Nuvo is Indianapolis’ alternative weekly and averages about 250,000 readers a week.  Our small emergent church, Lockerbie Central United Methodist Church, won Best House of Worship.

Last summer our church lost its pastor, lost most of its membership, and, now  a year later, we were voted Best House of Worship. Not only that, our cultural partner, Earth House (we decided to transform our large downtown church space into an ecumenical gathering space for wellness, arts, and social justice) was voted Best New Restaurant and our sanctuary was voted Best space.

Best house of worship: Lockerbie Central UMC

At Lockerbie Central, worship is just one form of expression for a community with a conscious. These progressive Methodists also clothe and feed the homeless, run an organic café, screen documentaries about social issues, display local artwork and host poetry slams, yoga, dancers and drum circles. They describe themselves as a “lay-led” congregation and “strive to worship in a communal and conversational manner,” designing services based on discussion in meetings and on their blog. It’s hard to find the line between their congregation and their community space — and that’s a good thing., 237 N. East St., 637-2716
Second: St. Luke’s UMC
Third: Jesus Metropolitan Church

Best new local restaurant: Earth House Café
As a collective, Earth House Café is the perfect place to stay in touch with the community and important issues. Earth House is Indiana’s only 100 percent organic and fair trade coffee shop, offering coffee and tea drinks as well as organic foods on Friday nights and during events. Along with delicious food and drink, Earth House also offers classes like yoga and African drumming as well as exhibiting local artists, musicians and films. Earth House creates a community of like-minded people working together to make positive changes through art, music, creativity and communication. Check out the Web site for a great supplement., 237 East St., 636-4060
Second: Stanley’s New York Deli
Third: Euphoria

(Editor’s) Best space: Earth House sanctuary
There’s something about the echoing, enveloping acoustics in old churches that moves even this non-believer. The Earth House has lucked out in getting two performance spaces, both a stage at the first floor café and a high-ceilinged sanctuary on the second floor. With pews removed and organs unplugged, the refurbished sanctuary has become a versatile performance venue, big enough for a theater piece but also great for a more unconventional setup, like bands playing one after another in each corner of the space. Kudos to the Earth House crew for putting in the time to renovate both floors; now it’s time for some more bands and troupes to take advantage of the space.

One of our Earth House members won an award too:

(Editor’s) Best series, flannel shirt category: Indianapolis Songwriters Café
The Indianapolis Songwriters Café, Cliff Snyder’s showcase of the best Indiana singer-songwriters and a select few from farther abroad, has trudged through multiple venues in its first year while maintaining a consistently high level of talent and clarity of vision. It’s a familiar setup, though too rare in this town: three performers in the round, swapping songs and stories. After beginning life at the now-shuttered Boulevard Place Café, the series has found a new home at the Earth House, a perfect, relaxed coffee house setting for a show that’s too quiet and intimate for any old bar.

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