St Aubyn’s 11th January and St Michael’s 14th January 2018
Readings – Jeremiah 7:1-15; Luke 3:7-18
The word on the street is that the church in this country is dying. You don’t need to read the statistics to know that the average age of congregations is rising, or that the number of churches is decreasing. Organised Christian religion has been declining for so long, that some even predict the end of Christianity in this country. And yet remarkably, amid all the doom and gloom, the fact remains that, according to all the latest estimates, at least 43-44% of people when questioned are happy to identify as Christian.
That’s an awful lot of people. Just imagine if even 40% of the people in this area went to the local churches. We’d all have to have bigger buildings, wouldn’t we? Yet the reality on the ground is that when you look at how many people actually come to St Michael’s, the numbers attending each week only represent about 0.5% of the parish population. Out of the 9500 or so who live in the area we serve, only about 45 turn up here on a given Sunday.
So why is there such a vast gap between the number of people who call themselves Christian and those who come to church? That’s a huge question, with a whole host of different answers. But surely one important reason is that somewhere along the line an awful lot of people have come up with some very strange ideas about what it means to be a Christian. If we were to go out on the streets and ask folk why they thought they were Christians, we would get all kinds of responses. For example, “I’m a Christian because my parents were believers”; “I’m a Christian because I go to church”; in fact, you would almost always get any answer other than, “I’m a Christian because Jesus died in my place for my sins.” Read the rest of this entry »