There are two types of churches operating in our current economic climate. One boasts in their increase of weekly attendees, you know the ones, people scared pantless because they’ve lost 50% of their equity. The second remembers that in economic downturns the poor get poorer, and they opt to provide help to those in need and make a point to remind us about the remaining and emerging social injustices.
The first boasts new recruits, people they’ve re-attracted who used to attend church ‘x’ amount of years ago but dropped out because things got boring. The second continues to scrap and claw at the seemingly growing gap between rich and poor while mobilizing their own to attend to these causes.
Which community are you a part of?
Now I am aware I’ve just over-generalized everybody, but I do want to point out something. Despite bearing the brunt of most other Protestant criticisms, particularly conservatives, the United Church of Canada released a statement outlining its position on the economic crisis.
The denomination tends to swing way left on the political scale, much to the chagrin to those on the right. However, left-wing social policies should equate to more social justice, or at least a posture that remembers the oppressed in our system. This is partly true as noted in the United Church statement.
But does it translate into the local church?
A Calgary Herald article quoted some local United Church pastors about the national letter calling them to remember the socially marginalised in our declining economies.
I can’t really speak for all United Church pastors, and would love to quickly point out that United Churches are quickly disappearing with mean age attendance likely over 60. However, I also know that one of the best, nitty gritty, in your face, compassionate, and redemptive community’s is located at Central United in Calgary (evening service).
Their recovery ministry, despite the state of the rest of the denominations, is exceptional. I’ve attended services, seen what goes on, and am happy to suggest ‘missional’ church can happen within a modern/traditional model of church.
So although United Church’s may not all be (in fact few are probably connected like Central) getting their hands dirty, at least the posture of the national office reminds the masses (or dozens) about the increase in social needs.
Not sure what the upper-middle class white collar denominations are thinking at this point. Still reveling in their 2008 4th quarter 10% increase in ‘adherents’ I surmise….