How much will engaging the world as a church newly committed to addressing and ending systemic racism, addressing and ending poverty bring a new vitality to our congregations, families and communities?
https://media.mywtenfold1.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2020/11/17175719/john-cafazza-AeABkasP-24-unsplash-scaled-e1608490727327.jpg533800Linda Kurtz/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2016/01/NEXT-Logo-FINAL-Horizontal_lato-1030x229.pngLinda Kurtz2020-11-18 07:49:162020-11-17 17:59:00Welcome to the Future
In 1999 the First Presbyterian Church had 193 members. In 2019 the number was 75. This 20-year decline is not much different than what I see elsewhere in our presbytery. However, a church of 500 that drops to 250 can still support a pastor. The Coffeyville church can’t, at least not a seminary trained, ordained, and installed pastor.
I asked if they had ever had conversations with the town 12 miles away, which has a part time PCUSA pastor, about a yoked pastorate. They wondered aloud about what a pastor would do. The pulpit is filled by church members, retired pastors, and commissioned ruling elders, and they – the members and community – do everything else.
I spend a significant amount of time on Youtube every few months watching writer/producer/actor/model/unrequited BFF, Issa Rae do press and various interviews. I was deep in one of these YouTube rabbit trails not too long ago and ran across her interview with a correspondent from Variety. The same correspondent to whom she told her now famous line on the Emmys red carpet in 2017, “I’m rooting for everybody black!”. What a line, what a statement, what a vibe (as the young folx say)? The film and television industry has historically been a very white industry where privilege and nepotism reign supreme. I know another mammoth institution that can claim this history, do you?
A church with 30 members in a town of 400 people will never install a full-time pastor again, and I can’t imagine anyone moving to rural Kansas for a quarter time call. Still, that church created a food pantry to feed their neighbors, and they send children in their town to camp each summer. Churches like this need a different conversation, and they can be leaders in it.
https://media.mywtenfold1.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2020/05/06134918/john-cafazza-AeABkasP-24-unsplash-scaled-e1608492681621.jpg533799Layton Williams/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2016/01/NEXT-Logo-FINAL-Horizontal_lato-1030x229.pngLayton Williams2020-05-06 13:51:002020-11-28 20:05:16Ad Astra Per Aspera – To the Stars Through Difficulties (the Kansas state motto): a portrait of rural ministry