Saturday, August 4, 2012

Church Tenure

It’s a pretty obvious statement to say that Christian church membership in the US isn’t what it was just 30 or 40 years ago, especially in most of the mainline or traditional denominations.  Church attendance in general continues its downward trend and the loyalty we exhibit to individual churches or denominations has greatly waned. Some of this is due to our more mobile society and far-flung career opportunities. And there’s the migration out of the Rust Belt and Northeast to the South and Southwest. But even those who stay put are much more prone to job hopping and church hopping than members of our grandparents’ generation. Guilty as charged on both counts.

This week my wife was cleaning out older files and records and set aside a pile of papers for me to go through to confirm they could be banished to the paper recycling bin. Among the various documents was a group of annual reports from a church we attended for a number of years (and were active, voting members). One of the annual reports I came across listed a number of recently deceased older congregants and how many years they had been members. This was a 150+ year old traditional church trying to transition to a more contemporary venue to better match the needs and wishes of younger Christians. The annual report informed us (names altered):

Mrs. Edna Mae Brown – member 1943 – 2005
Mrs. Ellen C. Franklin – member 1950-2006, Sunday School teacher for 50 years
Mrs. Lorraine R. Carter – member 1950 – 2006
Edgar Samuel Hitchcock – member 1932 – 2006 (74 years), Church Clerk for 20 years

End of an era I think. I can’t imagine we of the Restless Society could ever stay put or tie down our church loyalties like those who came before us.

1 comment:

james said...

"needs and wishes"

I wonder how the contemporary crowd views loyalty? Do they need it, feel a need for it, want "somebody else" to be loyal while they live life "not tied down"?