What is the Future of Church?

What is the Future of the Church?


This Week

What’s the future of the church going to look like?


You’ve probably read the data. Church attendance in America is following trends in Europe. Only x percent of people under 30 go to church. Estimates of church closings have dramatically increased after the pandemic. All of the major Christian denominations are facing a membership crisis, including evangelicals.


But that’s only half the story. As church attendance goes down, interest in spirituality and living a moral life have gone up. Young people are seeking a moral life, but they are not looking for one religion’s doctrine as their north star. Instead, they are picking and choosing.


In my time as pastor, I often asked young people, “What’s your biggest issue with coming to church?” They most often answer, “Church.”


With interest in meaning, purpose, and spirituality increasing at the same time churches and denominations are decreasing, the question is what is the future of the church?


Following the service, I’ll stay around after our discussion for a town hall meeting with our board chair to share the vision of the board for the future of our church.


That’s what I’ll be preaching this Sunday.

 

I hope you can make it on Sunday for our worship and discussion.


Peace,

Rich

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Recap of Last Week

Rev. Rich Tafel on Developing Spiritual Resilience

Last week we discussed how to build up spiritual resilience and you can learn a three-step process for that here. I think you'll agree with what I've argued in last week's sermon that our church needs to figure out how best to reach younger people with a message of mission and purpose.


We are posting quick video recaps of Sunday messages like this one on our Facebook page, which we encourage you to explore, "Like" them, and share with your social networks.


If you missed that sermon, you can listen to it HERE.

Visit CHC Facebook Page for More Takeaways

Our Schedule from May 29th - Sept. 4th

When the Angels Speak...

Last Sunday service we commemorated a great lady - our Former Church President Ms. Helen Sioris. Her legacy, her generosity, her courage to stand up for what is right and good, has helped shape the Church of the Holy City into what it is today. In a way, her spiritual presence is still deeply felt in our community.


"That Sunday during prayer I asked Helen for a sign," said Rich. "Then I walked out of the church building and saw this."

New Episodes on Spiritual Resilience Podcast

Check out the newly-published episodes of our "Spiritual Resilience Podcast" with Rev. Rich Tafel, now available on Spotify.


In 15-20 min episodes we explore topics such as Spiritual Strategies to Dealing with Anxiety, Navigating Grief, The Power of Humility, Finding Joy in Challenging Times, and much more.


Please share this resource with others who might benefit from such messages.

Check Out the Spiritual Resilience Podcast

Swedenborgian Church Participates in National Council of Church Retreat to Montgomery, AL

The National Council of Churches held their governing board retreat in Montgomery, Alabama in May followed a by a board meeting the following week. This meeting was planned with a focus on addressing racism. The Swedenborgian Church was well represented both in the retreat and board meeting.

 

A tour of the Equal Justice Legacy Museum and memorial to victims of lynching were part of the event. The museum is both outstanding in its use of cutting-edge technology and presentation to tell the story of slavery through mass incarceration. At the same time, it is overwhelming sad and, at times, deeply depressing. As our faith teaches, sin needs to be fully seen to be addressed, the museum provides an excellent space to focus on that. I would highly recommend a visit as one of the best museums of history I’ve been to.

 

The board retreat was well facilitated and focused on racism in the church and on the council. It was probably one of the most honest discussions I’ve experienced on my nine years representing our denomination. As a board we’ve developed great fellowship and I particularly enjoyed our worship time together. The sermons by our board chair and new president were high points in the time together.

 

The following week, the NCC gather in a business meeting to make some major changes that we’ve been working for some time.

 

The NCC is proud to announce that is has hired a new President, General Secretary in the person of Bishop Vashti McKenzie who had recently retired from the AME church. She has agreed to take on this interim role for two years. I had a chance to get to know her better and I’m very excited by her combination of business acumen and spiritual compassion-love and truth. You can learn more details about her HERE.

 

Last year, the NCC elected its first all-female executive board, and the new board chair is Board Chair, Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, who is also the Presiding Bishop of the Fifth Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. She has inherited a host of administrative challenges that appear to facing all faith communities and she’s navigated through them impressively. Keep her in your prayers. She praised the hire of the new President saying:

 

“The National Council of Churches is blessed to have Bishop McKenzie in this key leadership role. She brings the necessary insight, expertise, and ecumenical commitment to the Council” said Board Chair, Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, who is also the Presiding Bishop of the Fifth Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.

 

It’s quite a statement that the NCC now has two African American women leaders. You can only imagine what these two women have done to attain their leadership positions and the NCC is blessed to have them on board.

 

There isn’t a meeting where someone doesn’t ask about our church and what we believe and do. We are far below in membership compared to our partners, but we are deeply involved and participatory. In my nine years we’ve never missed a meeting.

 

As NCC moves forward, I’ve been asked to chair the bylaws committee and draft up a new document that better represents our current time and needs. I’m grateful that our church has asked me to represent us and I believe the time invested in this type of ecumenical work is important and our denomination uniquely can play a leadership role in respecting all faith paths.

 

If any churches have questions about the business or work to combat racism at the NCC, please contact me for more details.


By Rev. Tafel

revtafel@holycitydc.org

Sunday Readings

The New Jerusalem

Revelations 21 

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and there was no sea anymore. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem,[a] coming down out of heaven from God. It was prepared like a bride dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Now God’s presence is with people, and he will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them and will be their God.[b] He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain, because all the old ways are gone.” The One who was sitting on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new!”


The Good Shepherd and His Sheep

John 10

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 

 

… people are part of the “church” only if they are growing spiritually and they are living caring lives. . . . The Lord’s church includes all people in the world who are living a good life according to their own religion. . . . All the people who live good lives and acknowledge one God, no matter where they are, are accepted by the Lord and come into heaven. This is because everyone who is devoted to doing good recognizes the Lord, since goodness comes from the Lord and the Lord is present in it. (New Jerusalem §246:1, 2)

What the Pastor's Reading

Articles you Might Find Interesting


10 Reasons Even Committed Christians Are Attending Church Less Often


https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2022/02/victory-is-not-possible-a-theory-of-the-culture-war/#.Yjxe7osfOQc.twitter


Some People Turn Suffering Into Wisdom by David Brooks


How to Make Change, Slowly by Gal Beckerman


How money from dying churches could breathe new life into communities


Does Religion Make People More Ethical?


A Church Without Churches. Does Mainline Protestantism care about the local church?


One Way to Live Longer: Stop Worrying About Getting Old

New book, ‘Breaking the Age Code,’ aims to reframe how we think about aging, promises benefits.

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