It was just the kind of service that brings Sharon Thiel and her husband, Jack, from Warwick every Sunday. Thiel, who is admittedly one of the older worshippers — "I graduated from high school in the mid-'60s," she said — seemed more delighted than dismayed by the age gap between her and most of the crowd.
"[Mook] can preach. He can teach. He can expound," she said. "One of Andrew's gifts, I think, is that God has given him the ability to convey things in a way that is going to reach the people who are there." She and her husband joined Sanctuary after their church dissolved seven years ago and she says she gets a new perspective here on concepts she has studied "inside out and upside down."
A group of younger congregants standing in the sun after the service shared her enthusiasm. They were trim, tan, good-looking, and dotted with tattoos and piercings. They seemed, well, pretty cool.
"We grew up in some weird churches," Matthew Olerio said. "People speaking in tongues. Like, crazy stuff."
"It's more like a conversation than a from-the-pulpit kind of thing," said Daniel D'Arezzo, Olerio's partner in a soon-to-debut surf wax company. "It's very relaxed. It's very comforting, but . . . the theology's there."
Olerio reiterated that this was not a "cool church." When you get wrapped up in the hype and the image, he said, you lose track of the purpose.
"It's all about Jesus!" shouted someone nearby, who had overhead the conversation.