Recently, I enjoyed a visit with a parishioner, and with great delight he asked, "What are our activities at church for the rest of the year?" He was eagerly anticipating any occasion to have fellowship with us, and that was wonderful, yet humbling to hear.
We gather every Sunday and worship together. I believe that creates a special bond of intimacy like no other. As we humbly approach God's altar so we understand a common humanity with one another as all of us are greatly in need of God's grace. Also, in God's eyes we are all equally loved and precious. Another parishioner has shared that he looks forward to coming to church each Sunday. It is one of the highlights of his week.
I wonder at times, though, if we take each other for granted. Attendance on Sundays is fairly steady, and usually the same folks are present each week. Yet for some, church attendance is optional. They have so many relationships pulling them in different directions that a Sunday gathering is yet another event to draw their attention and energy. We should be concerned if the church is yet another Facebook friend and not having greater relevance in our lives.
I recall as a lay person feeling similar sentiments as the folks I have mentioned. I have some prayer time in store for me to transition from our fellowship and worship as "work" to being an invigorating restorative time of renewal. That is a challenge for all clergy......and maybe some laity!
With September we return to our regular schedule of a late service at 10:30 am on September 10. Adult Christian Education, choir rehearsals, youth group meetings, and other activities are resurrected. We have some new and exciting events planned each month for the rest of the year.
Join us for the fun as we begin another cycle in our church life. It really is fun....and much, much more!
Forward Movement, a ministry of the Episcopal Church, grew out of the determination of the General Convention in 1934 to counter a period of anxiety, distrust, and decline in the Episcopal Church with a "forward movement" charged to "reinvigorate the life of the church and to rehabilitate its general, diocesan, and parochial work." Daily meditation is available online by clicking HERE.
The Adult Sunday School Class is my "Think Tank" for our parish. They are a diverse and well-informed group. I can run ideas by them and receive very candid and thoughtful responses.
For some time we contemplated the concept of attracting millennials to our parish. We read various books and articles to guide us, and all seemed to say that we needed to change our personalities, values, and perspectives in order to attract them. Our conclusion? If you have to change to be attractive to someone, then you're not doing anyone any favors.
So why has the millennial generation seemed to disappear from the mainline churches? Some have been attracted to the mega churches with high tech audio-visual tools to garner their attention. Others, though, seem to be finding community in places other than the churches in which they were raised. They find instructive authority elsewhere, too.
Here is a point for meditation: The advent of the internet came during the formative years of the millennial generation. Has the internet somehow taken the place of the church? RSC+