It’s no question to many, many people that the way the church functions today as an institution needs to change. I hear it from the people who sit in the pews, I hear it from clergy, I even hear it from people on the street. Of course this doesn’t apply to just the United Church of Canada, but many other denominations as well.
It’s not hard to find someone who will say, “I wish someone would come in and just tell us what to do!” And in some ways I agree, but there must be a willingness within the local community to be part of and take ownership of the change.
Last week the following motion hit the floor of our annual Presbytery meeting:
“… that Sydney Presbytery inform its pastoral charges that the number pastoral charges in the presbytery will be reduced from the current number of 20 to 5 by January 1, 2014 through cooperative action of the pastoral charges and congregations by Jan 1, 2013 or unilateral action of Sydney Presbytery after July 1, 2013 with the general description of the pastoral charges as follows:” (brief description of the proposed PC’s consisting of the existing PC’s grouped by local areas).
The motion was tabled in order for our local congregations to hear about it and discuss it before bringing it back to our next monthly meeting.
I have no illusions that there will not be a lot of opposition to this motion. I’m fairly sure it will be amended in some way. I’m sure people, and churches, are going to stand up and scream in defiance of this idea that they might have to share, or not have a minister in the building 24×7, or that their building might need to close. These will be said because in their hearts these are going to be options in a time when we need to put it all on the table.
But it’s time.
It’s time for the church to think differently about itself. We must put it all on the table and see what we can do with it all, because the alternative is start the palliative care and begin planning for the day when none of us will be here.
We need to be real about ourselves. The way we run our churches, even our denomination, cannot continue as it is. We’re just burying ourselves alive.
This is a wake up call. This is the time when we need to get back to our roots… our root… in Christ Jesus who built this church, the one who calls to our hearts to serve, love, praise, preach, and share. We need to embrace our Saviour and make him the head of the church once again.
It’s our time.
It’s His time.
Another kindred spirit – and THIS time, within the fold called The United Church.
Thank you for your words Nick, and thank you for being brave enough to speak them.
For the first time, after reviewing your blog I feel like there is still hope for this United Church of ours … there is a scattering of voices who are not offering apologetics for the Church as it is, but are daring to challenge us to be more …
One of my mentors said the Church needs to stop being a namby-pamby warm pink fuzzy social club, and MUST go back to being the Church – the very Body of Christ incarnate and present in the world.
In your words I hear a similar resonance … the Spirit is at work!!!
Peace my friend … I look forward to seeing where the Spirit will take us …