How would you change your/the church?

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Nancy

Well-Known Member
I have lamented the fact that we do not attract young people any more...and I am talking about all of the United Churches in my community. Then I think...we need to change somehow to be more relevant in the world. But lately, I've been thinking that much of what we do does not need to change: We are a worshipful, charitable, forward-thinking bunch who care about our world and each other. What do you think? What needs to stay the same, and what changes do you think need to be made in our church (locally, regionally, nationally)?
 

Carolla

wondering & wandering
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A huge question Nancy. You might find Alan Roxburgh's thoughts in this video to be of interest -


I would also add that 'church' - however we define that - may need to rethink its view of 'being charitable' - it is historically a stance of privilege.
 

paradox3

Well-Known Member
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We had a young supply minister a few years ago who pointed out that charity and community involvement are not the same thing. Both fall under the umbrella of outreach though.

One of my thitry-somethings has an interest in matters of the spirit although she doesn't attend church regularly. Before the pandemic, she would attend on Christmas Eve, Mother's Day, etc.

Fascinating to me is her nostalgia for traditional church architecture and for many elements of traditional liturgy.

She is quick to point out that church congregations often perceive themselves to be more inclusive than they really are. She is totally on board with Affirming churches but finds the land acknowledgement trite and overdone.

Always interesting to discuss her perceptions when she goes to church with me.
 

Carolla

wondering & wandering
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I agree P3 - I think there is a pretty significant spirituality, yearning even, amongst many people. Unfortunately the institutional trappings of 'church' present barriers to their engagement. As Roxburgh (and others) point out, the institutional structures of church were developed long ago, to serve or meet needs of a society that no longer exists in that form. But some are loathe to shift or evolve those structures.
 

paradox3

Well-Known Member
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Well how do those structures need to change? I don't even know what we are aspiring to, to tell you the truth.

Many assume that more community involvement (sharing our space, holding neighborhood dinners and so on) is going to be the answer. Is it?
 

paradox3

Well-Known Member
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Been thinking about a church I used to attend where the minister tried REALLY hard to make his Christmas Eve services contemporary and relevant. He knew there would be a bigger crowd than usual and that many regular attendees would have family with them.

Trouble was some of those family members were nostalgic and hoping for a more traditional service. Others were present just to be with their families & didn't really care about the content of the service.

This always seemed sad to me. In answer to the OP, I don't know what we need to do differently.
 

Luce NDs

Well-Known Member
The trouble is caring ... when living in a world dedicated to assertiveness how could you care for the other side in a cooperative sense ?

So it goes't! But I'm not supposed to be critical of this Ide of power ... a wind of Fuhrer? Nat'Zhe? Cara Mia ... anum cara ... and all that alien black matter ...
 

Nancy

Well-Known Member
My question is the same as yours Paradox3....I don't really know how we are to change, but I don't want to 'throw out the baby with the bathwater'. I love hearing what young people think. And, Carolla, I appreciate your comments about charity. I believe I have felt a surge of impatience when the pulpit assumes that all the congregation are the privileged class, and need to give to the poor, who are, presumably, outside of the church. To be honest, I felt this mostly when attending my husband's church...not mine. I will need to be more careful with my words...I wasn't thinking of charity as a class thing but rather a sharing of talents and resources to help when/where needed.
 

BetteTheRed

Resident Heretic
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I personally hate it when there's an assumption that no-one in the congregation is homeless/at risk of it/has family members who are.

My son looks to be becoming homeless again in January. He's got enough income now that he can pay for a site in a campground, but he'll still be living in a tent in January, albeit on an island in a temperate rainforest, but...it gets down to zero occasionally.
 

BetteTheRed

Resident Heretic
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but finds the land acknowledgement trite and overdone.

These have evolved, especially in our congregation. Instead of a simple acknowledgement made solely by the presiding minister, we have finetuned the words to be very accurate about territory and treaty, we've added a responsive bit so that the congregation assents to the statement, and our Christ Candle is now permanently surrounded by the candles of the four directions.
 

Mrs.Anteater

Just keep going....
I am no longer member in a UCC congregation but when I was I was part of the outreach committee. Back then, outreach was either considered charity for “ the people out there” like Christmas hampers, or “ trying to get more people to come to church”.
Neither one really worked. I don’t think charity work is a means to bridge the relationship of content middle class people to people in need in the surrounding community. The gap continues to exist and my impression was that very few would ever consider wanting to get any closer or even reflect on that.
Getting more people into church also didn’t work. Maybe because usually, the “ caring” part was left mostly to the minister and becoming part of the crowd so one gets noticed and valued required a lot of giving and not being too different before one would benefit.
When the motivation for wanting to grow is based on the finances to keep the building running, it doesn’t work.

I am presently seeing a similar development in my Quaker group. The wish to grow has made people think that one has to have a “ neutral” meeting place ( we used to meet in people’s houses), which brought on the need to pay rent for the church room we are using now. Increased expenses influence the wish to grow.
While each member is active in some form of community or Quaker activism, there is no common activity in the community to engage all of the attenders.
So what I would wish for would be a common goal to engage in community and with community. Lived presence would make people interested in coming. Openness and caring will keep people there.
 

Mystic

Well-Known Member
In Canada the mainline Protestant churches that are growing (in the UCCan, Anglican, Presbyeterian, and Lutheran churches) are the conservative churches that stress the power of prayer and the status of Scripture as God's Word:

 

Waterfall

Well-Known Member
In Canada the mainline Protestant churches that are growing (in the UCCan, Anglican, Presbyeterian, and Lutheran churches) are the conservative churches that stress the power of prayer and the status of Scripture as God's Word:

Interesting....I couldn't read the whole article, as I didnt want to pay to read the rest. Can you tell me who did this study?
 

Luce NDs

Well-Known Member
In Canada the mainline Protestant churches that are growing (in the UCCan, Anglican, Presbyeterian, and Lutheran churches) are the conservative churches that stress the power of prayer and the status of Scripture as God's Word:



Thus faith in the supernatural although if asked they will declare they only believe in physical gods ... thus a thinking god is eliminated as the lights go out ...

Thus the power of denial has great success and leads to intelligence decreasing ... and so it does ... isn't that apparent?
 

Mrs.Anteater

Just keep going....
In Canada the mainline Protestant churches that are growing (in the UCCan, Anglican, Presbyeterian, and Lutheran churches) are the conservative churches that stress the power of prayer and the status of Scripture as God's Word:

Yep, the tendency today that people like to believe what they are told without critical thinking is also coming back strong in politics and in online- beliefs of various sorts. It has always been the easier way to “drop off your brain at the coat check”. ( this is a German saying).
 

Mendalla

Agnostic pan(en)theist gorilla
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“drop off your brain at the coat check”. ( this is a German saying).
Basically the same as "check your brain at the door", which I have heard in English now and then.

And it is probably part of why I am UU. There is no expectation that you will slavishly follow the leader. Questioning and seeking your own way and path is encouraged, even embedded in the principles.
 

paradox3

Well-Known Member
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Slavishly following the leader is something I have seen in progressive circles. Sorry to haul this out again but it is my lived experience
 
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