Friday, September 02, 2005

There must be fifty ways to lose your church . . .

I think the truth for my congregation in the Katrina disaster is that, while it is right and good for us to feel sadness and grief at the loss of our church, self-pity is not okay.

We are "losing" our church through a rising tide of budget difficulties, massive neighborhood changes, flagging energy, and Presbytery's closing off some options for us. All along the Gulf Coast there are Christians who have lost their churches to the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. Sure, many of those churches will eventually rebuild and ministry will go on more or less as before. But I'm guessing many churches will not reopen. For many that were on the edge of viability anyway, this will be the coup de grace, (or not so grace). Some churches will discover, once the dust settles, that most of their members have left the area for good. Some congregations will decide that, since they have to rebuild anyway, they ought to look for a better location. Presbyteries, Diocese, Conferences, etc. will have to make painful decisions about where scarce aid resources can best be put to use.

And if we widen our circle of concern, we can remember those whose churches have been destroyed in war, or declared illegal so their property could be confiscated by the powers that be.

The truth is, churches--with a small c--get wiped out all the time by various forces human and natural. Even the Church--big C--will disappear in the fulness of time. Our hope is in God.

5 comments:

cheesehead said...

Amen, sister.

Emily said...

It's too bad we don't feel the urgency of losing congregations until we see it on television. We can't find ways to partner with each other until it's too late?

PPB said...

good point.

Sue said...

Great post!

SpookyRach said...

well said.