"All words are symbols that represent unspeakable realities. Which is also why words are magical." (Donald Miller tweet)

Monday, October 13, 2014

not dead yet

Each week, I send a little note out to my favourite church. (Yes, it's the one I pastor. How awkward would it be if it wasn't?!) This week - well - I feel a little strongly about it. So here's a slightly modified excerpt of that note for you too.


Did you happen to pick up Saturday's Spec? On the front page was a well-written article about dying churches in Hamilton. Of course, the Spec's definition of "church" is found in the subheading - "the city's religious and architectural heritage" i.e., the buildings.

We define church a little differently - off the top of my head, I'd go with "a group of people choosing to live out their faith as followers of Jesus, both individually and together as an authentic community, in whatever space they happen to find themselves". Ironically, the building our "church" meets in, was one of those "dying churches" several years ago.

I'm so grateful that congregation intentionally
passed the torch on to us!
Jesus' name continues to be honoured in this space.
Christian community continues to grow in this space.

Speaking of dying churches, someone sent me this article just an hour after I opened the Saturday paper. It's not new, but it made me gasp a little. And cheer. And then gasp again. Enjoy if you like.  (October 17, 2014 edit - off topic - but props with all my heart to the author's follow-up to that article, right here.)

Sunday morning at our church, one of you in a broken voice offered a prayer of thanks for full-time employment for the last seven years. One of you came and silently knelt at the front during worship. One of you, one of our youngest members, read Scripture for us all. One of you, one of our oldest members, who usually stays in the background, unexpectedly came to the microphone and prayed with such authority and passion that we all knew - it was the closing prayer. No other was needed. Most of you stayed for awhile, enjoying good conversation over homemade desserts and coffee. Some of you went home with extra food tucked in your bag.

And one of you told me that the reason you were at Crossfire was because, well, there was life here.

I guess not every church in Hamilton is dying after all.

PS If you're interested, past weekly notes to my favourite church are right here

PPS Props to you if you caught the Monty Python reference in the title. ;) 


Anonymous said...

Thanks for reading. Glad the piece was helpful. Most of all, thanks for being the Church.

Patti said...

streetpastor - thanks for following backlinks - I hadn't managed to get to you yet to say "great article".

Great article :) I read it aloud to several people before publishing the link. And if I may say so - I love that the pastor in your article is a "she" - and even more that that particular fact is not even the point of the article!