The blog

The blog—informal opinions and chat about the parish

Sunday, January 6, 2019

"The report of my death was an exaggeration"

That quote, from Mark Twain, might apply to the "mainline churches" or to the Episcopal denomination, or to St. Matthew's.

True, the numbers for all those groups are not what they were in the 1960s. A lot of people who used to show up on Sunday mornings because it was socially required simply stopped coming. In the 1970s, there was quite an exodus as younger people (and a few older ones too) left for the "Jesus Movement" of anti-traditional and anti-theological churches. More recently, the involvement of many churches in highly political (and sometimes questionable) campaigns has driven a few away.

As a diocese and as a parish, we've been through all that, and some of us have gotten into the habit of talking as if things are all going to smash and ruin.

They're not.

For one thing, we have several layers of vibrant leadership (Rev. Kay, Bishop Hollingsworth, and Bishop Curry) who have a real vision for our future.

For another, if you look around, it's not difficult to point out new people who have been with us less than six months in the parish. We've had a few deaths and a few people have left town, but our numbers are actually increasing little by little.

As Treasurer, I can tell you that we are meeting our bills, plus a bit.

The real bottom line, though, is that a lot of people are still looking for what we have: a welcoming community seeking to follow Christ.

And all this talk of church death tends to leave out the major player. If God wants an Episcopal parish here, he will provide for it. And he seems to be doing so.

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