I was involved in a conversation about church attendance earlier this week and one of the central positions was, while acknowledging the current declining worship attendance figures, church attendance now, is still remarkably higher than in our nation’s colonial days.
For a long time, despite popular thought that the US was founded on religious liberty and was a particularly religious nation in its colonial and fledgling years, those who looked seriously at the numbers, people, ideologies, and trends would have said this is likely not the case. I remember learning about Deists, like John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and even George Washington, who like many of their Continental (European) counterparts would have denied the divinity of Christ, understood Jesus only as a teacher of morality, and God the Father as something of a clock maker who created the world and then set it aside to run by itself. I recall talking to a park ranger from Valley Forge, whose passion was studying George Washington, who told me, as a general, he regularly sought support from churches around the colonies but seldom attended worship or engaged in religious practices.
So, I was going to comment on this in my Happenings thoughts today, but as I sought to document and back up these conclusions, I found the pendulum is swinging. I discovered, while Jefferson, Adams and others, were indeed Deists who valued facts and reason, and that Deists were often found among the wealthy and elite, they were not significant players in the religious life of the colonies and early United States. I also discovered low church attendance figures are being challenged and that a review of the data may indicate 18th century trends which indicate growing numbers of churches and attendance. So, I am unwilling to say too much about this topic.
However, I will ask another question. Is the number of churches, church attendance, and even offering amounts a good and true judge of faith? Every denomination faithfully collects annual data about worship attendance and money collected, but are these numbers a good indication of how faithful we are? If we understand the kingdom, the time and place where God’s realm is complete, how can we measure how much of our hearts and souls (individually and corporately) belong to God?
You know it has been said that people often come to church just to be seen or heard, so again I ask is the fact that a person is in a church building on a Sunday (or Saturday) morning an indicator of an active and sincere faith journey? Attendance and offering are easy numbers to collect, but is that how we are judged by God?
2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
Peace, Pastor Dale
THIS SUNDAY’S LEADERSHIP TEAM:
Presiding: The Rev. Dale Krotee
Music Director and Organist: J. Curtis White
Immanuel Church Chancel Choir
Pianist: Lynne Breil, Tina Lyte
Acolyte: Phoebe Elzey
Ushers: Danny Luthy, Kate Deckenback, Janice Haller, Max Schnoor
Nursery Staff: Stephanie Carmine
Nursery Assistant: Diana Krotee
Sound System: Jack Breil, Keith Malkus, Tom Wilkison
This Week at Immanuel: (Office hours M-F, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.)
Sunday 9:00am Sunday School
9:15-11:30am Nursery Care
11:00am Fellowship in the Narthex
Tuesday 10:00am Dorchester Faith Alliance
12-1 pm Bible Study
Thursday 6:30pm Choir Practice
Saturday 8:00am Holiday Bazaar
HOLIDAY BAZAAR Bakers – bring your goodies in by Friday, Nov. 22 as our sale starts at 8am.
COMMUNITY THANKSGIVING SERVICE: Tuesday, Nov. 26th at 6:00pm at Waugh Chapel United Methodist Church, 425 High Street, Cambridge, MD.
CONGREGATIONAL MEETING: Sunday, December 15th following worship. Agenda: Election of President of the Congregation 2020; budget 2020.
CHURCH COUNCIL: If you would like to serve on the Church Council filling the 3 vacancies that we will have for 2020, please see any of our
current council members.
ANGEL TREE: We have received the names from the Salvation Army. If you would like to select one early, see Robin Burton. Hopefully, the
tree will be up by next Sunday but definitely by Dec. 1st.
Janice Haller, Church Secretary