It’s a frequently-asked question these days: Where are congregations going?
And, it’s not just the United Church doing the asking. All faiths are struggling to remain relevant in the face of changing demographics and societal pressures. A full church this Sunday is no guarantee to stave off the day when there will be more empty chairs than bottoms in the Sanctuary. So, what can congregations do? What are some congregations doing?
This topic was covered by two excellent columns in the faith pages of the FYI section of the Nov. 17 edition of the Winnipeg Free Press. Freelance writers Brenda Suderman and John Longhurst look at the issue from different angles:
Brenda Suderman examines the efforts of the United Church’s Selkirk Presbytery to explore technology to help struggling rural congregations remain viable and relevant to their communities. Her column, The Plugged-In Church, offers examples that can be adopted by urban/suburban churches as well. “Instead of closing their doors, the answer may be to use technology in some way to continue holding worship services on Sunday morning,” Suderman said.
John Longhurst show us how some local congregations of various faiths are adapting to modern society’s ever-evolving definition of the family in his column, The Church Family and Changing Demographics. “Churches today need to rethink how they minister to families, how they preach, what kind of services they offer and how they try to make everyone feel included — even as they grapple with what a family looks like today,” Longhurst writes.