I am grateful to the session and congregation for supporting my trip to an annual event called the Festival of Homiletics (preaching.) The Festival always inspires me and gives me an opportunity to talk informally with pastors of large and small mainline congregations.
Here is what I learned:
- We are not alone. The reality is mainline churches across the country are becoming smaller. (Note: even many mega-churches are experiencing losses in membership and donations.)
- The mainline church fulfilled meaningful and fruitful ministry for decades all across our nation. But those traditional ways of being and doing are no longer connecting with our communities and the younger generations.
- It is not time to sit back, mourn, cling to traditional ways, wonder what happened or point fingers of blame.
It is time to turn the page! A meaningful chapter in Christian life across the country is coming to an end. The end of a chapter is not the end of the book! If anyone watched the movie and television series, The Everlasting Story, the story
of life – including church life – is always being written. It is time, past time, to begin writing the next chapter.
FPCE has a strategic planning committee (Paul Ohori, Tom Ochs, Jim and Lisa Segedy, Tyler McGuigan, and Pastor Michael) who will help us begin writing that new chapter. We will meet regularly beginning this summer. Your ideas, encouragement, and prayers are most welcome.