Monday, December 21, 2009

Looking For A Church In Anchorage, Alaska? Anchorage Daily News Church Blogger Chris Thompson Rates The Churches

New to Anchorage, Alaska? Looking for a church? A comprehensive list of most churches in the Anchorage area is available HERE; information on LDS congregations separately accessible HERE.

However, if you want to know in advance what's "under the hood", a local resident provides some help. Chris Thompson, an amateur biblical scholar and student of religions, decided to start visiting local churches to observe how they present themselves to visitors. His visits, with a few exceptions, focus on traditional Christian churches; he has yet to visit any "restorationist" churches such as the Latter-day Saints, Jehovah's Witnesses, or the Community of Christ (formerly RLDS). And he decided to document the results on the Anchorage Daily News Church Visits blog. His rating criteria below:

• Friendliness and warmth
• Genuine welcome, true Christian hospitality
• Effective, well-delivered bible-based main teaching
• Music deepening the worship, not just entertainment

As you can see, Thompson places heavy emphasis on the "welcome"; too much, in my opinion. He reports that at least half the churches he's visited are at least somewhat deficient in that area, which tells me that perhaps he should adjust his expectations downward. The vast majority of the churches listed will provide a welcoming environment.

Each church listed below links directly to Chris Thompson's evaluation during a particular visit. He's visited some churches more than once. A link to this post will be placed on my sidebar for future reference. The address and directions to a given church are embedded within his posts. In addition, Thompson has now developed a Google Map showing the locations of all churches visited:

Updated through January 25th, 2013

-- Abbott Loop Community Church: Abbott Loop: 2nd Visit - Not Much Change, 7/31/2009.

-- Abbott Loop Community Church: Surprised at Abbott Loop Community Church, 6/28/2008.

-- Alliance Christian Fellowship: ACF: Eagle River’s Fresh Approach, 11/19/2011.

-- All Saints Episcopal Church: All Saints: Stirring Lenten Service, 3/23/2012.

-- Amazing Grace Lutheran Church (ELCA): Ash Wednesday 2012 at Amazing Grace Lutheran, 2/25/2012.

-- Amazing Grace Lutheran Church (ELCA): Amazing Grace: Still Amazing Me, 7/17/2011

-- Amazing Grace Lutheran Church (ELCA): Music in Anchorage Churches: Interview #2 Chris Barnett of Amazing Grace Lutheran, 7/5/2010.

-- Amazing Grace Lutheran Church (ELCA): Amazing Grace - Still Amazing Me, 5/10/2010.

-- Amazing Grace Lutheran Church (ELCA): What's Under the Hood? Amazing Grace's Pastor Interviewed, 5/27/2009.

-- Amazing Grace Lutheran Church (ELCA): Amazing Grace Lutheran - A Hillside Gem, 3/13/2009.

-- Anchorage Baptist Temple: ABT: Illusionary Service - Did you miss it too?, 4/22/2009.

-- Anchorage Baptist Temple: ABT - Is Bigger Better?, 5/27/2008.

-- Anchorage Bible Fellowship: Anchorage Bible Fellowship: Hiding Again on Elmore, 2/10/2010.

-- Anchorage Bible Fellowship: Anchorage Bible Fellowship: Hidden on Elmore, 10/18/2009.

-- Anchorage Church of Christ: Anchorage Church of Christ: Good Service...Welcome Needs Work, 8/29/2009.

-- Anchorage City Church: African Children's Choir Shines at City Church, 8/20/2010.

-- Anchorage City Church: Anchorage City Church…Charismatically Quiet, 8/4/2008.

-- Anchorage Faith and Family Church: Anchorage Faith & Family Church: A Mixed Experience, 6/16/2010.

-- Anchorage Grace Church (Non-denominational Protestant): Anchorage Grace: 2nd Visit Disappoints, 11/22/2009.

-- Anchorage Grace Church (Non-denominational Protestant): Anchorage Grace: Hillside Cool , 5/7/2009.

-- Anchorage Lutheran Church (LCMS): Anchorage Lutheran: Warm Greeting, Weak Service, 2/21/2011

-- Anchorage Moravian Church: Anchorage Moravian Church: Joyous & Sincere, 1/8/2012. (NOTE: The church posted its response to this visit in their Jan. 9th bulletin.)

-- Baxter Road Bible Church: Baxter Road Bible Church - Third Advent Blessing, 12/16/2012.

-- Baxter Road Bible Church: John Carpenter, Former KTUU Sports Anchor, Ordained at BRBC, 1/9/2011.

-- Central Lutheran Church (ELCA): Central Lutheran: Warm and Caring, 11/3/2009.

-- ChangePoint: Homecoming, Fall Kickoff & Ministry Fair, 9/16/2011.

-- ChangePoint: Don’t Faint – A Positive ChangePoint Report, 9/4/2010.

-- ChangePoint: ChangePoint: Evening Service Option #3, 9/19/2009.

-- ChangePoint: ChangePoint Finally Delivers...For the Most Part, 6/2/2009.

-- ChangePoint: More Changes Coming to ChangePoint, 10/3/2008.

-- ChangePoint: Changes Coming to ChangePoint?, 5/19/2008.

-- Chapel By The Sea: Chapel By The Sea: Another Unexpected Anchorage Service, 3/8/2010

-- Chapel of the Cross: Chapel of the Cross: "B Team" but Friendly, 7/3/2009.

-- Christ Community Church: Christ Community Church…A Somewhat Closed Experience, 8/21/2008.

-- Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church: Sunrise Service – Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, 4/14/2012.

-- Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church: Interesting Super Bowl Service: Christ Our Savior Lutheran, 2/16/2012.

-- Christian Church of Anchorage (ELCA): Christian Church of Anchorage...An Invitation, Refusal, and Later Visit, 9/3/2008

-- Christian House of Prayer: Christian House of Prayer: A Visit Cut Short, 8/17/12

-- Church of Christ South Anchorage: Youth Lead Sunday Evening Service…A Pleasant First!, 8/12/2008.

-- Church of Christ South Anchorage: First church I've visited not using musical instruments, but they can sing!, 7/16/2008.

-- Community Covenant Church (connected with Evangelical Covenant Church): Community Covenant – Eagle River: A Perfect Visit, 3/20/2011.

-- Community Covenant Church (connected with Evangelical Covenant Church): Community Covenant Offers Much in Eagle River, 2/6/2009.

-- Cornerstone Church: Cornerstone Church – 9:30 a.m. Service, 4/14/2012.

-- Cornerstone Church: Cornerstone Church - Still Solid and Warm, 6/4/2010.

-- Cornerstone Church: Cornerstone: 2nd Visit - Still Solid & Welcoming, 9/12/2009.

-- Cornerstone Church: Cornerstone: Solid as a Rock and Welcoming, 3/19/2009.

-- Crosspoint: Crosspoint: Room for Improvement, 11/16/2008.

-- Dimond Grace Fellowship: A Mall Church That Works, 6/28/2012.

-- Eagle River Grace Church: Eagle River Grace: Good Sermon and Prayers, But Not Guest Friendly, 1/24/2012.

-- Faith Presbyterian Church: Faith Presbyterian – Palm Sunday 2012, 4/29/2012

-- First Assembly of God: Coordination Issues Mar 2nd Visit Attempt at First Assembly of God, 7/16/2010.

-- Faith Christian Community: Faith Christian Community – 11:00 a.m. Service, 4/14/2012.

-- Faith Christian Community: Saturday Evening Church: Faith Christian Community, 7/17/2009.

-- Faith Christian Community: Faith...It's Not Just a Religious Term, 6/10/2008.

-- First Baptist Church (Southern Baptist): Cool Advent Reception at First Baptist, 12/21/2008.

-- First Christian Church of Anchorage: First Christian...Warm & Welcoming, 12/30/2008.

-- First Christian Methodist Episcopal Church: First CME: Underattended Gem on 36th, 7/9/2009.

-- First Congregational Church: Huddling with the Congregationals, 5/23/2008.

-- First Presbyterian Church: First Presby – Another Look, Guess What?, 1/25/2013.

-- First Presbyterian Church: Pressing the Presbys, 5/9/2008.

-- First United Methodist Church: First Methodist: Outstanding 4th Advent Service, 1/9/2010.

-- Gloria Dei Lutheran Church (ELCA): Gloria Dei Lutheran - Bright Spot In Jewel Lake Area, 11/13/2010.

-- Great Land Christian Church: Great Land Christian Church - A Great Second Look, 5/22/2010.

-- Great Land Christian Church: Great Land Christian Church - What a Great Experience!, 11/20/2008.

-- Greater Friendly Temple (Church of God in Christ, or COGIC): Greater Friendly Temple Not Particularly Friendly, 2/27/2009.

-- Hillcrest Church of the Nazarene: Hillcrest Nazarene: A Good Visit, 11/05/2011.

-- Hillside Baptist Church (Southern Baptist): Hillside Baptist: A Problematic Visit, 10/01/2010.

-- Hillside-O'Malley Seventh-Day Adventist Church: Hillside-O'Malley SDA Church: And the Lord Rested the Seventh Day..., 6/18/2009.

-- Holy Family Cathedral: Holy Family Cathedral: Warm, Friendly and Catholic, 7/26/2008.

-- Jewel Lake Community Church of the Nazarene: Jewel Lake Nazarene – Hard to Describe, 11/16/2012.

-- Life Church (Pentecostal-oriented): Life Church: Lively & Honoring Fathers, 6/26/2009.

-- Muldoon Community Assembly of God: Muldoon Assembly: Friendly, Programmed, 9/19/2008.

-- Muldoon Road Baptist Church (Southern Baptist): Muldoon Road Baptist - Visitor Friendly, 2/13/2009.

-- New Grace Christian Church: New Grace Christian: Enjoyable Visit, 10/31/2010.

-- Northern Lights Baptist Church: Northern Lights Baptist: Uncomfortable Service, 10/16/2010.

-- Northside Seventh Day Adventist Church: Northside SDA - The Sermon Was Worth the Visit, 10/15/2011.

-- Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Church: Fourth Sunday of Advent - 2011, 12/17/2011.

-- Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Church: Our Lady of Guadalupe: Good but Noisy, 2/19/2009.

-- Rabbit Creek Community Church: Rabbit Creek Community Church: Warm and Welcoming, 7/14/2008.

-- Scenic Park Bible Church: Scenic Park Bible Church: A Refreshing Visit, 2/13/2010.

-- Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church (American Baptist Churches and National Baptist Convention): Shiloh Baptist Delivers, 1/16/2009.

-- St. Benedict's Roman Catholic Church: Enjoyable St. Benedict's Visit, 10/31/12.

-- Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Church: Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Church...Unusual Service...Not Welcoming, 12/7/2008.

-- St. John Orthodox (Antiochan): St. John Orthodox - A Spiritual Treat, 10/31/2008

-- St. John United Methodist Church: Good Friday 2012 Reflections, 4/6/2012

-- St. John United Methodist Church: St. John UMC: Evening Service Option #4, 10/4/2009.

-- St. John United Methodist Church: St. John UMC: A Bright Light In Special Needs Leadership, 8/6/2009.

-- St. John United Methodist Church: Trio of Advent Treats Served at St. John UMC, 12/23/2008.

-- St. John United Methodist Church: There's a Winning Method at this Methodist Church, 5/16/2008.

-- St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA): St Mark Lutheran...A Cold Day's Visit, 12/13/2008.

-- St. Mary's Episcopal Church: St. Mary’s Episcopal: Warm First Advent Service, 12/03/2011.

-- St. Mary's Episcopal Church: St. Mary's Episcopal: Warmer But Noisier Than First Visit, 12/14/2009.

-- St. Mary's Episcopal Church: St. Mary's Episcopal Church...Reserved But Warm, 6/20/2008.

-- St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church: St. Patricks: A Happy Family, 5/14/2009.

-- Sand Lake Baptist Church: Sand Lake Baptist: A Refreshing Change, Mostly, 5/24/2011

-- The Cowboy Church of Anchorage: Cowboy Church Rides Into Anchorage, 1/22/2009.

-- The Crossing @ Birchwood (non-denominational Protestant): Crossing @ Birchwood: Better Visit, 4/8/2011.

-- The Crossing @ Birchwood (non-denominational Protestant): The Crossing @ Birchwood: A Work in Progress, 6/11/2009.

-- Trinity Presbyterian Church: Trinity Presbyterian Sunday Surprise - Woman Pastor(94) Baptizes Serviceman(24), 7/8/2010.

-- Trinity Presbyterian Church: Church Experiment Reduces Sanctuary Noise, 10/11/2009.

-- Trinity Presbyterian Church: Trinity's Community Caring Extends to Children With Special Needs, 8/14/2009.

-- Trinity Presbyterian Church: Sunday Evening Church: Trinity Presbyterian's '7:07', 7/23/2009.

-- Trinity Presbyterian Church: What's Under the Hood? Trinity's Pastor Responds, 4/30/2009.

-- Trinity Presbyterian Church: Trinity Presbyterian: Melted by Warmth, 4/2/2009.

-- True North: True North: A New Anchorage Church, 7/15/2011

-- TurnAgain Church of Christ: TurnAgain Church of Christ: Worth a Visit, 2/7/2011

-- Turnagain United Methodist Church: Turnagain UMC: Cautiously Friendly, 3/8/2011

-- Wellspring Ministry Center: Wellspring, a New Congregation on the Move, 1/10/2009.


  1. there is no Asatru on your list? we will have to change that in the next year.

  2. This list is limited strictly to those churches visited by Chris Thompson. If you know of an Asatru congregation, notify Thompson and invite him to visit.

  3. Why can't I view the articles? :(