Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Friday, April 28, 2006

Sunday Attendance is important....

....because Jesus wills it!

Below is an article, circulated today by the American Anglican Council from The Church of England's newspaper, reporting on the fact that Episcopalians have one of the lowest rates of attendance. St. John's certainly does better than the 32% reported for the Episcopal Church. But as I look out each week and do a 'who is missing' list (usually compiled on paper later Sunday afternoon), it is a humbling reminder that even on a day when we have 200+ people in church, there is another 50 to 75 people I can list who are parishioners who are not there.

Not only is it vital to be in Church on Sunday so you can be fed in Word and Sacrament, but also our glorious worship is taken to a higher level when the Church is fuller - imagine adding another 50 people every week to the prayers, responses, singing, and fellowship! Being in Church not only helps you, but your presence lifts others up AND is more welcoming to the newcomer.

That being said - see you in Church on Sunday, and invite a friend or five!
Source: Church of England Newspaper
Number: 5817 Date: Apr 28
By George Conger
AMERICAN Episcopalians have the lowest rate of worship attendance of any Christian denomination, a Gallup poll reports. Episcopalians come third from last on the table of weekly attendance with less than one in three attending services, beating only Jews and those who have no religion. The Episcopal Church “is prone to attract people with less sense of being full-blown Episcopalians than simply participants in a particular congregation that happens to be Episcopal” the Rev Dr William Sachs, Vice President for Learning and Leadership at the Episcopal Church Foundation in New York, told The Church of England Newspaper. “The good news is that we get people in the door; the challenge is to hold them and to form them,” Dr Sachs, the Church’s leading statistician, noted.
In a series of interviews conducted from 2002 to 2005, Gallup interviewed 11,000 adult Americans and asked, “How often do you attend church or synagogue — at least once a week, almost every week, about once a month, seldom, or never?” Approximately 44 per cent of American adults reported attending worship services weekly, or almost weekly, the April 14 report stated. The results varied among religious groups and denominations with almost two-thirds of Mormons, conservative Protestants and Pentecostal Protestants reporting they attended weekly services. Roman Catholics and members of the ‘mainline’ Protestant churches: Lutherans, Methodists and Presbyterians varied in attendance between 43 and 45 per cent. Episcopalians came last among Christian denominations, reporting only 32 per cent weekly attendance while Jews reported only 15 per cent attendance.
Dr Sachs noted that Sunday worship attendance did not completely measure the vitality of the Church. “We often put great emphasis on small-group life either in study and prayer groups or in mission and outreach groups. “The good news is that active congregations offer a variety of doorways to participation; the bad news is that too often we are unclear about our identity as Christians and our direction as Episcopal congregations. People like to know where they are going and why,” he said.
Conflict within the Church may have diminished attendance as well, he noted. However the “most important factor” Dr Sachs said, was that people “want clear religious identity and clear, practical purpose”. “A dual focus on formation and on mission would do much to enhance the Episcopal Church’s life,” he said.