Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Connections That Count...

We live in a time when we hear mostly bad news about the connections between the Church and teens/twenty-somethings.  We live in a time when social media account for the most connections between the younger folks in high school, college, and those just entering the work force.  We live in a time when we struggle to emulate the media and techno toys with which our youth are so familiar -- hoping against hope that these accommodations will help us hold on to them for the sake of Christ and His Church.  So, it is hard not to tear up at what an 80 year old woman accomplished and still accomplishes with paper, pen, and postage stamp.

Read Terry Mattingly's stirring and heart warming piece about an older woman who knew how to write letters. So that is what she did, writing personal letters to each college student to let them know that she was praying for them, wishing them the best as they searched for a college church and looking forward to seeing them at Thanksgiving and Christmas. According to church members, the “students sought her out and rushed to give her hugs and to say, ‘Thank you,’ whenever they came home,” said Kara E. Powell, who teaches at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif.

Personal contact.  You cannot beat it.  Sticky people whose faith and encouragement stick with our youth shows its results in their stickiness to the Church and the faith.  For all the active media ministries we might yearn for -- these kids responded most to an age old method of personal connection.  I wish I had a hundred of them writing to the high school and college and young military and young married folk of my parish!  I bet you do, too.  Folks, this is reachable.  We can do this.  We can make a big difference in the lives of those most inclined to distance themselves from the Church and the faith.  All it takes is commitment, some time, a heart willing to share, and some paper, pens, and postage stamps.


Anonymous said...

A local parish is only as strong as
its interpersonal relationships.
The folks who drop out of sight or
transfer their membership usually
have no friends in the parish. This
means that the individuals need more
than a relationship with the pastor.
They need to be integrated into
parish life and have fellowship
besides Sunday morning worship.
Small groups whether it is the choir,
board of trustees, or weekly Bible
study are important.

Emily Cook said...

This is great food for thought. I been on the receiving end of such cards and letters, and it was always so encouraging to know someone was praying for me. I don't know if I ever did thank these 2 older women that I have in mind- but now that I read this again I remember them, and I am grateful for their words and their prayers for me in my youth.

May God make me into a woman like this!

Anonymous said...

Nothing like love motivated by the Gospel. Great piece, pastor. Now let's emulate this in our parishes and put into practice our faith. Blessed Advent.

Terry Maher said...

It's 2011. Years ago, a trip to the post office and the bank was just part of Saturday errands. Now, I couldn't tell you the last time I bought stamps. For what? Who mails anything but packages? Relics.

Personal is just that, in person. Remote contact via ink on paper or pixels on a screen, no different, except in that the former has been around longer than the latter. And try sending a video by snail mail, let alone interactive communication.