I recently wrote a column about a church that is struggling with a dwindling membership most of which would be classified as seniors. As proud as the congregation is of this community anchor and as concerned as all are of what the future might hold for its continued existence; still one has to be realistic about the possibilities available for its continued influence as a denominational presence.
One option offered in the column was that in the extreme case of the congregational failure as a viable body of believers perhaps instead of the church property being left as a “monument of failure” with no congregation to support its physical presence or its mission, it was an expressed hope that another congregation would be welcomed to use the facilities to continue its very purpose, to proclaim the Christian message.
But apparently not everyone understood that this would be a most extreme option. Some interpretedthe piece to suggest that the idea mentioned was to turn the property over to another denomination even a different racial group.
And they would be correct if this were the only option.
The question is: Would you rather the church be used for its intended purpose or would you instead allow it to follow in the path of other churches in the county whose members have rejected such efforts and allowed the failed church building to fall into disrepair?
*** There is a line in a song in the Rogers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific that “You have to be carefully taught to hate.” It is not inborn. I thought of this song recently when I recalled talking to an out-of-state visitor recently about the news of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear fallout that took place in Japan with the loss of tens of thousands of lives. I mentioned that it was a tragedy of biblical proportions. I was taken aback by his response.
His viewpoint was that it was well deserved and his only regret was the lives lost were not many more. His reasoning he stated for his nationalistic demonization was what the ‘Japs’ did to the Americans at Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941.
I asked if he were intimately involved in this attack and he said no; he was in his early teens at the time. Did he have a loved one whose life was lost? No!
So why the vitriol?
His main complaint was that the sneak, unwarranted attack and consequently the loss of American lives and property were unforgivable.
On the outdoor sign at the Fork Presbyterian Church on my way to Sunny Acres, I read this, “To be forgiven, one must forgive.”
*** Mention the word “dope” today and the obvious implication for a listener is that you are .referring to illegal drugs or dope. But when I was growing up, the word “dope” was an acceptable word and one generally understood in a rather positive manner. In fact, a common term used for a carbonated beverage, sometimes called a “soda” was a “soda dope.” The idea was that it could possibly be habit forming but not in a negative sense. I recall that there was a vendor for mill workers located inside the Hamer Mill plant itself that had a cart filled with various sundries such as snacks and drinks, perhaps a few packs of Stanback Headache Powder or BCs. The cart was popularly known as the “dope”
cart. Today the term “dope” would be on the politically incorrect list.
PO Box 128
Hamer, SC 29547