Miguel Bonnelly: Site Visit Paper Essay

For the site visit project, many different students attended to different religious events/ services and all had a different experience. I attended a Christian Nondenominational Church called “Iglesia Cristiana Clinica del Alma” that is located in Hialeah Florida. The language spoken in this church is Spanish and its name translates to “Clinic of the Soul.” They have service on Sundays (11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Wednesdays (7:30 p.m.- 10:00 p.m.), and Fridays (8:00 p.m.- 9:30 p.m.) For this site project, I attended the service on Sunday of September 6, 2015. Since I do not know a lot about the Christian religion, I asked many questions. One of the things that I did not know was what a nondenominational church meant. I asked one of the members of the church named John and he told me that it meant that “they have no particular denomination.” I did not know that was possible because I thought that all Christian churches needed to have a denomination so this was surprising to me. I continued to ask questions regarding their specific beliefs, what they follow and not follow, how are they different from other Christian denominations, how things are run in the church, etc. The way this church is run is that there is a pastor which is the man in charge of everything in the church. All the members answer to him and the pastor is the one to give the sermon every service. Under the pastor, there are the members that have volunteered to serve in the church. Another member named Jose told me that “even though the church is nondenominational, it would fall under the Protestant branch in Christianity.” He also said that if you had to give it a denomination, then it would be like “a mixture of Pentecostal and Baptist.” After asking what beliefs they hold, I concluded that this church believes in what most mainstream Christian churches believe in like Jesus Christ is the messiah, God is in the form of the trinity, and that they believe and follow in the bible which is God’s word. Where they start to differ is in things that have to do with the Holy Spirit. Clinic of the Soul church certainly believes in the manifestation of the Holy Spirit but they are careful in what ways it is being done. That is some of the members of the church would say that it is almost like “a mixture of Pentecostal and Baptist.” It really amazed me to see how Clinic of the Soul Church shared and differed in certain beliefs from other churches.

This religion is in South Florida for many reasons. For one it is part of the Christian faith and Christianity is the major religion that is practiced in the United States. There are tons of Christian churches with their different denominations scattered all across the nation and that includes South Florida. This church is for the Hispanic Christians that are in South Florida. Clinic of the Soul church is the place where these Hispanic Christians can come together in fellowship and worship their God in the way they all believe it should be done. It is also the place where these Hispanic Christians can plan out and perform certain tasks, ceremonies, rituals, and events that they must do. An example would be something like a baptism or going out to evangelize people who are not Christian. Churches likes Clinic of the Soul are needed in South Florida for the Christians that take part in these beliefs and it is important for them to continue to function in their communities.

Not only are the beliefs and the roles of Clinic of the Soul important but also the way the church looks. To start off, I would say that this Church is very beautiful on the inside. From the outside, it just looks like a building however once I went inside and also talk to the members of the church, I was able to see and understand how they can see the church so sacred. Just about everything inside the church makes the space, sacred space. The members really hold their altar to high regard and must be treated differently from all the other spaces in the church. During the service, it was easy for me to find what was the Axis Mundi of the Church. The Axis Mundi would be the space right in front of the middle of the altar. This is where the people went to pray, dance, and worship their God. I was able to understand that this is the place where the members believe that they can communicate with their God where God is able to communicate back to them. The space is where the members can feel the supernatural/sacred power that is there. That would have to be the Axis Mundi of the church. This would probably be the same place of the Imago Mundi only maybe more spread out because these Christians believe that “they are the church.” They are what helps make the place sacred and thus are recreating the order and holiness inside the church which is different from the disorderly, unholy world outside of the church.

Clinic of the Soul also has its sacred time like any other church and religion out there. In the church, I was able to see how sacred time was to the members of the church. Even though they have a set time for when the service begins and ends and how long the worship team should play the music, how long they should pray, and how long the sermon is suppose to be, the members of the church have no problem changing the time for the service of that day. They believe that God is in the space and is manifesting itself and you can not put a “time limit” on God when he is working. If they believe that they need to pray longer, they would certainly do it. That was how I was able to see the sacred time in the church. This is the time that is being used for God and where they are becoming one with God. They believe that there is no time limit on this. That was how I was able to see their sacred time.

This church had very few religious symbols in it. I was only able to count about three. The first one was the cross, which is popular in most Christian churches. The cross is where Christians believe that their savior, Jesus, was crucified on. It represents the suffering that Jesus did for them on the cross. The second one that I saw was a white bird. One of the members of the church told me that the white bird represents the Holy Spirit and that the Holy Spirit is in the Church. This member says that it represents the Holy Spirit because of a verse in the bible that says that “the Holy Spirit descended like a dove onto the Earth.” The last symbol I was able to identify was two hands shaking. The same member told me that it represented the unity between God and man. These were the three religious master symbols that I was able to see in the church.

Since I am not familiar with the Christian faith, I do not know to many of their myths and stories. One myth that I was able to recognize was the story of Moses parting the Red sea. The pastor was using this story in his sermon because he was explaining how Christians must always trust in God no matter whatever situation or position that the Christian is in. Other than that story, I did not recognize the others that the pastor went over.

Based on Jung’s theory, what I was able to tell is that the members of the faith are trying to be one with God through the Holy Spirit. They believe that if they live the holy life by reading the bible, praying, and following the commands and tasks and laws of the bible, that they will be able to become one with God and that the Holy Spirit manifests itself through that person. This is what could be their “self realization” which is that they realize that God lives within them.

Overall, I had a great experience coming to this service at Clinic of the Soul. I was really able to further understand a lot of the concepts that we are studying inside the classroom. I was able to see things through the eyes of the members of the church. The most positive result of my visit was probably being able to talk to the members and getting their point of view on everything they believe in. I may or may not believe in the different concepts that were taught however it definitely impacted my life and it is an experience that I will not forget.

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