Dear All Saints:
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the latest gloom-and-doom news on the state of church attendance. Many people say we’re seeing the death of the Church, but, as I’ve said before, the Church belongs to God. It cannot die. How we organize ourselves as institutions with buildings and clergy and staff is certainly changing. And how society views religion in general is undergoing a massive shift.
This does not mean that there is not deep interest in the big questions about life and death and meaning. People are simply looking for those things in other places where community can be found, people exploring the same questions, whether that’s a yoga studio or a book group.
Last month, New York Times columnist Nick Kristof wrote a column entitled “Let’s Wage a War on Loneliness.” Studies show that loneliness can be deadly, as physical and emotional wellness are dependent on how deep our connection with other people. This is something that churches can do really well. However, it isn’t automatic. People don’t just show up at the door of any church. The #1 reason people do show up is when someone else asks them.
If you are not comfortable asking someone to come on a Sunday morning to listen to a sermon and awkwardly wonder what to do during the serving of communion, Advent and Christmas offer perfect opportunities for you to practice. This Sunday’s “Ceremony of Carols” (4:00 p.m.) will give folks a chance to hear some glorious music with a few uplifting readings of scripture. The following Sunday, December 15, we combine the 9:00 & 11:00 a.m. services to present our annual Christmas Pageant at 10:00 a.m. And who doesn’t love a bunch of children dressed up as sheep and angels? Finally, Christmas Eve offers two opportunities (5:00 & 9:00 p.m.) to hear the Christmas story and sing favorite carols.
So come. Bring your family. Bring a friend!