Wednesday, July 10, 2013

You know how a church can catch your eye and you follow it? Online churches are easy to follow, through social media. I follow several that way, digitally. But driving around, you know, you spot things. Church signs, I guess, especially when misspelled or full of innuendo.

So, I had an exercise routine that brought me past a Baptist church on a major route Sunday mornings. And I would see cars out front around 11 am and think to myself that I ought to just pull in and join up. I had visited that particular Baptist (ha-ha) church at least three Sunday mornings over the years (here and here). A woman from a Bible study I attend was a congregant but she never recognized me there, never said hello.

Recently that parking lot's been empty on Sunday morning. Even considering a possible switch of service time in observance of summer. That really caught my eye. I slowed down one rainy day for a closer look at the sign.

I emailed the pastor, asking where they were now meeting and got no response. Linkedin says he's working at a tire place and lists "pastor" among his former occupations. I contacted the woman who was a congregant and see she's moved out of state years ago. So she likely has no information about the church's closure. The folks must have gone somewhere. I just wonder where. God willing, another congregation will take over the property.


RAnn said...

We aren't the only ones who close churches, it's just that they do it differently. The decision to merge/close a parish comes from above; the decision to close a Baptist church is made by the members and unless there is fraud involved, it doesn't make the news. The reasons for closure can be the same--people moved out the the area and/or the church doesn't attract enough members and contributions to be financially viable--or they can be different--the people couldn't get along and/or disagreed about the future of the church. There is a Baptist church in our area that was rather large and even had a school. It had had the same pastor for over thirty years. When he died, within a few years the church fell apart and they ended up selling to another church.

Barbara Schoeneberger said...

We have some local evangelical churches around here that were always breaking up. It seemed a congregation couldn't last more than a couple of years before infighting and disagreements on teaching drove people into different camps. One church lay vacant for several years.

I have a friend who was a secretary at a local Lutheran church. She said it was the worst place to work because the devil got in there and created a huge amount of nastiness and hatefulness. It was the opposite of what she expected when she took the job. She said she'd never work for a church again. It makes me think that the Catholic Church, on the whole, has a lot more stability even if we merge or close parishes because of changing demographics.

Rich Maffeo said...

Sadly, I can think of some Catholic Churches in similar situations . . . infighting, anger, cliques, even cowardice in the face of the growing cultural shift against Christ.

We are living in desperate times. May God help us wake up to the danger before it is too late. Prayer is our only weapon against this evil. And repentance. I think of 2 Chronicles 7:14-15.

Anonymous said...

Barbara, that's interesting. Sad, but interesting. Was it Chesterton who said Christianity hadn't been tried and found wanting, it had been found difficult and left untried?

Moonshadow said...

Catholics with disputes are still somehow able to "leave quietly" as compared with Protestants with like issues. I think either we have less attachment to the community than Protestants - we can leave without seeking out and taking along "allies" who might agree with us. Or we might half suspect, with some humility, that we just may be the ones in the wrong!

My local area - and maybe yours too - is becoming overrun lately with church plants. Of hip, cool churches that meet in movie theaters or high school cafeterias and play rock worship music on Sunday mornings. I think mainline and even some traditional evangelical churches are losing out to these.

I got word today that the Episcopal parish in my hometown sold today for a non-religious use. This, after the Presbyterian church sold a few years ago. Maybe the Methodists are next.