If, indeed, the church closes, the effect will ripple through the community. Its faithful congregants will be most directly affected, deprived of the spiritual comfort of a beautiful sanctuary where some of them were baptized and married. A classic stone church, based on the design of Richard Upjohn, the American architect who pioneered the restoration of Gothic architecture for American churches, its construction materials were dug out of Canaan’s rocky hills and it has been a defining presence in the center of Canaan for 168 years. Without its congregation it will become a hollow presence, another rent in the fabric of the town.
Beyond their liturgical functions, churches are cornerstones of their communities. They provide social outlets, spiritual succor and tangible assistance to the needy. Their loss diminishes the sense of unity in towns, even for those who are not physically members of a given church.
It seems unlikely that at the 11th hour Christ Church will find a solution to its problem. It has been years since it has been able to afford a full-time minister and, without a consistent leader, it is hard for any organization to thrive. Its endowments are depleted and its buildings in need of work. Only a few people sit in its pews each Sunday and the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut can offer little support—it says its coffers have been emptied by similar declines in other Episcopal churches throughout the state.
Members are praying for “a bunch of angels” that may be able to revitalize the church. It is a worthy goal and one that, perhaps, should not fall solely on the few remaining parishioners to attain. Perhaps an ecumenical effort is needed to preserve an institution that ultimately benefits all.
As someone who spent nearly 13 years just across the Hudson from some of these small towns in Connecticut and Massachusetts and their wonderful character I lament the wonderful buildings that once represented vital communities of faith and now face a regrettable demise... It is no different from the great sadness I feel when I drive home to Nebraska and find the wonderful white clapboard churches of the prairie facing the same fate.
"Beyond their liturgical functions, churches are cornerstones of their communities."
The public school has replaced the church as top priority in most families. Families arrange their lives around public school schedules, sports, even the charities promoted by the public schools. Public school has sucked the life out of us. Rather than serving us. We serve it. There is this creepy belief that education is the answer to all ills, but much of what fills the curriculum is indoctrination in secularism.
Where are all the homosexuals and other diversity advocates who have lobbied to change TEC doctrine. Shouldn't they be stampeding to that church with their wallets wide open. No? Hmmmmm.......
I will assume that this is yet another innocent group of (somewhat) traditional Christians, who are the victims of liberal doctrinal change, which was forced upon them from church headquarters. Most people are not "buying in" to the new doctrine? Imagine that.
Regarding "the wonderful white clapboard churches of the prairie", are those churches emptying out as young people continue to migrate out of those isolated small farm towns and into the mass suburbia of the big cities. A reverse migration to such farm towns is well overdue. If only there were a way to make a living out in the middle of the weeds.....
The church building is there for its liturgical functions. If the function changes or the community moves, there is no point in the building.
If ECUSA wasn't so militantly against the Continuing Anglican groups, they could simply give the building to them and let them start a mission in it. But I think that Hitler and Stalin will probably being ice skating with Satan before that happens.
Young people everywhere are leaving small farm towns in search of jobs and are settling in suburban areas of larger cities. The population of many areas of the country is graying and shrinking. Regarding the disappearance of churches throughout rural America......
The LCMS could keep "the wonderful white clapboard churches of the prairie" full. It could buy tens of thousands of acres of farmland, break the land up into small farms, and let only members of the LCMS live on the property and farm it. In exchange, the LCMS provides the farmers, henceforth known as "church employees" a salary.
Don't laugh. The Apostolic Church is already doing this in isolated pockets of the Midwest. The time has come for the LCMS to invest in farmland!
From the parish's web site there is no indication that it is a conservative parish on the outs with a liberal denomination. It has a female priest (usually, but not always, a marker for a liberal parish), and doesn't describe itself as "traditional" or "orthodox."
I think it is more likely that it is a mainstream Episcopal parish, with the typical Episcopalian liberalism on offer. The trouble is, there is probably not that much interest in that tepid version of Christianity in a rural village of a thousand souls, roughly equidistant from Hartford, Springfield, Poughkeepsie, and Albany.
praying for “a bunch of angels” that may be able to revitalize the church. It is a worthy goal ...
If I am right about what is being taught from the pulpit in that parish, I cannot agree that its revitalization is "a worthy goal." What they need for revitalization is not a bunch of financial angels, but a worthy bishop who will see to it that the Gospel is rightly preached there. Sadly, Andrew Smith is not that man.
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