This Week: “When Is A Church Member Not A Church Member” [March 18th, 2018]

When is a church member not a church member? Each week, as we make our way through the parish list, bringing forward names of parishioners for our Sunday prayers, we cannot help but notice that not all the names are familiar to us. Some once had an active connection here but now have drifted away. Some were placed on the list when they had a child baptized, or a wedding performed, but they never really “took root” as members. But some who are inactive now still regard themselves as members, and fiercely so, as having connections here that stretch back for generations.

Several decades ago Reginald Bibby, a Professor of Sociology from the University of Lethbridge, did extensive research on Canadian Christians and their church-going habits. His findings were startling. To the evangelical churches, so proud of their church growth, he said that much of that growth was due to church-hopping, not church-finding, that is, to restless Christians moving about to whichever church had the best band, or the best preacher, or perhaps the best coffee.

For mainstream Christians like us, he said our membership was actually much larger than the numbers indicated. He discovered that many non-church-attenders retained a strong brand loyalty and would be surprised—even piqued—to learn they were not considered members. Bibby’s message to us: evangelism begins with the many people who already count themselves as members.

So look around. Who are the people who are not with us? How might we bring them home?

ISC:Penny Sanborn Trio

Following their success in 2016/17, the Penny Sanborn Trio is back! Their chic European sound includes an attractive collection of French musette pieces, Italian folk songs, tango suites and improvised jazz tunes, and their sophisticated yet accessible style will enchant audiences of all ages and tastes.

Three Days in Lent: Telling Our Story

This Week will engage us in the art of storytelling. Led by master storyteller Joanne Epply-Schmitt, an Episcopalian priest from Boston, and a popular summer presenter at the Sorrento Conference Centre, we will learn how to put our stories into words, and into action, beginning with the biblical stories that move us.

STORYTELLING: The Good that Comes after “Once Upon a Time …”

A Public Lecture by Joanne Epply-Schmidt (with a wine and cheese reception to follow) on Storytelling in the Parish, in the Prisons, in the Public, and in Pastoral Care.

Joanne Epply-Schmidt Is an Episcopalian parish priest and university chaplain from Princeton, New Jersey, Joanne has taught and performed storytelling in schools, seminaries, continuing education programs, the adult and juvenile justice systems, and retreat centres. She is a popular presenter at the summer program of the Sorrento Retreat and Conference Centre in Sorrento, BC