In most congregations the number of people at Sunday worship is considerably less than would have been the case ten years ago.
I was delighted, when I stopped in my “back-home congregation”, to find an air of positivity even though I have more digits on my hands and feet than there were “bums in the pew”. But numbers seemed to be irrelevant.
Congregants were happy to be there. They looked forward to having a meaningful experience. Their tiny choir exuded an aura of celebration. Practically everyone there had something to add during the announcements or during the service. It was apparent this was more than just a get-together-on-Sunday group.
From the extended community I had already heard about the service the church’s “Thrift Shop” provides to the whole community – through re-cycled clothes, through funding giving back to the community, and because it is a welcoming place to visit.
On one very blustery day a week earlier a member of the community told me of the effort she and her husband were making to get to the “Soup and Sandwich Luncheon”’ at the church. Everyone wants to support the church’s outreach efforts.
This is one of those congregations, it seems, that is moving along with the times. Worship services are offered for those who wish to attend. Innovative ways of reaching out and serving the community are being identified and acted on by those who see a need around them. Members have found how important it is to step out of the rut-of-tradition as they find alternative ways to offer their best.
How I wish I could be there for their tiny choir’s Christmas Cantata. That wonderful blend of musical leadership in this small church is indeed a “pearl of great price”.