Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Rabbi and the Pastor

The latest issue of Greater Park Hill News included a wonderful article about Temple Micah and Park Hill Congregational Church and the relationship of their clergy. It was a beautifully done article.


Friday, August 20, 2010


One of the easiest ways to raise money for the church - or any of 90,000 different charities - is to use www.goodsearch.com or www.goodshop.com. For example, I buy lots of stuff from amazon.com. All I do is to first go to www.goodshop.com, make sure I choose "Park Hill Congregational Church" as the charity I shop for, and then click on amazon, expedia, hotwire, dell or any one of 600 different internet retailers. The church then gets a percentage of each sale. Click on "Amount Raised" to watch the progress. It adds up and makes a big difference for our ministry. Please take a second the next time you internet shop and help us. Thank you!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pistol Packin' in Church

Church goers in Louisiana can now bring their concealed weapons to church. The new law signed by Governor Jindal requires pastors to announce that there might be gun-toters in their midst. This replaced an older law that banned guns in houses of worship.

At my church in Ohio, we had to place signs at every door indicating guns may not be allowed inside. It was such a welcoming sight to see at every entrance a gun with a big red line through it. But, if it wasn't present, we could be held liable for gun violence inside the building.

I just don't get it...

(By the way, we don't allow guns in our church.)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Prop 8 Declared Unconstitutional

In the marriage rite of our Book of Worship, upon announcement of the union we declare, "Those whom God has joined together, let no one separate."

We are moving ever slowly to realize the dream when it will say, "Those whom God has joined together , let no one deny." (note, it is God who is the source of love)

The 2005 General Synod of the United Church of Christ called for full marriage equality. It was seen as a divisive statement by its opponents. But, we pray, it is simply the prophetic word which one day will be the norm.

(I was a delegate at that glorious Synod in Atlanta. Upon the positive vote of over 80% of the delegates, I blubbered like a baby in joy)

Small Churches

A recent cover story in The Christian Century - a liberal Christian magazine read by many mainline clergy and lay people - addressed being Church in the land of Mega-Churches. It has many insightful comments and I'll blog on some of them in coming weeks, but the one that struck me most is this:

"Becoming part of a small congregation can look like a lot of work" (from the perspective of a visitor who has Mega Church expectations of a full array of services to meet a multitude of needs). The author of the article, "Oversized Expectations," a smaller church pastor added, "And it is."

He adds, "Their (guests looking for a church home) criticism (or leeriness) is valid. It does take a lot of work to be in a small congregation. Many people visit a small church thinking it will be simple and quaint, when the truth is that life in small churches in complex. Members of a small church have multiple roles and responsibilities..." And one example of the need for flexibility and to improvise: "On Sunday mornings it is not uncommon for a family to show up and have all its members drafted into roles they were not expecting to play when they left home."

Recent statistics indicate that 60% of churches in the U.S. have fewer than 100 members. A mere 10% of congregations - of every denomination or independent - have 350 or more members. A Mega Church is defined as having more than 2,000 in services over one weekend.

Mega Churches are not the norm, but they are becoming normative in terms of what prospective members consider important characteristics - multiple programs and specialized staff.

PHCC has around 150-175 members with an average of 82 (in 2009) adults and children on Sunday and we share all the joys of a small church - knowing many if not most people, easy to get involved - and all its challenges - seemingly never "enough" to do all the things we'd like to do.

Having always been part of smaller congregations, I wouldn't want to be the pastor of anything else. I feel blessed, if not at times stressed.