Republished with permission from The Vermont Standard
Well, Tom & I are taking a couple of days away to celebrate our 40th anniversary, so I have not been able to scout up much news this week! I do want to put a question out to all of you though. Does a community need a church?
We recently had our annual congregational meeting at Tyson Congregational Church. We took stock of what has been done over the past year. In addition to regular Sunday Worship services, we held our December Service of Remembrance for those who have left us, but are still living in our hearts; our annual Candlelight Service for the community & fellowship time afterwards; our Ash Wednesday observance & our Maundy Thursday meal & service & our Easter service were mentioned.
The church hosted meetings of Tyson Ladies Aid, as well at the monthly Reach Out Luncheon sponsored by both groups. We participated in the town Strawberry Festival, using the raffle money solely for meeting community needs. We gave out funds for special needs & were able to distribute several hundred dollars given to us by the National UCC after Irene hit our area. We assembled (with community help) school kits for Church World Service.
Our congregation takes great care to pray for folks in our area & many people asked to be added to our prayer list. Funerals & weddings for local people took place at the church. Without a school in town now, sadly our after-school program has ended. It was felt that we worked hard to live up to our mission of reaching out to others with God’s love, but it was acknowledged that sometimes it is difficult to keep going.
At this meeting, it was problematical to find enough people to fill the positions that are needed to run the church. Most of us are far from spring chickens, but many are handling several “jobs”. It was noted that we have lost members – some passing on, others moving out of the area, leaving some holes in our fabric.
As a result I wonder what Plymouth would be like without the church. Would it be missed? Sunday Worship church attendance throughout New England has declined. There are many things that keep folks busy on Sunday mornings.
So, is the church relevant? Are there ways that our tiny congregation can be better at serving the community? Are there folks out there who could benefit from being part of our church? I don’t have the answers, but I would greatly appreciate your comments…..