Monday, September 10, 2012

A Membership Drive?

You Are Cordially Invited!

Unheard of! Impossible! In the Episcopal Church!!!

This may be so. We have been losing members for so long, I don't know if we could even entertain the very idea. I've never heard of any Bishop, Priest or lay person even mention such a thing. The Evangelicals do it. The Right Wing Fundamentalists do it. Good heavens, even NPR and PBS do it.

But the church? Our church? A membership drive? Unthinkable!

Until now, at least at St. Gabriel's in Douglassville PA. We actually have a very healthy congregation with a fabulous Sunday School and Youth ministry program. But even we have enough stresses and strains in the human and financial resources available to us, that we could certainly use a shot in the proverbial arm.

So, we are doing an EDDM; an Every Door Direct Mailer. We are inviting over 6,000 folks to church on September 23rd for Sunday School/Youth Ministry Registration. At fist, folks were a bit excited by the idea, but now as we come closer to the the time, our anxiety levels are rising significantly.

What if 6000 people come to the door? Unlikely...
But what if 50-75 come to see what we're up to?
After all, we've been in the news. We now no longer keep folks at arm's length because of orientation, gender, class, race or ethnicity.
We've come up with this curious notion that we are all one in Christ; Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, just as the Scripture says.
We believe that we are a "House of Prayer for ALL People" just as Scripture says. (By the way, read the rest of Isaiah 56 and note how God treats the foreigner and the eunuch, those whose sexual orientation is "different".)
Most of the world of faith rejects such a notion.
And Science rejects most of the world of faith because it is a demonstrable fact that we are all one blood without regard to all the false categories so many people organize us into.

So, I wonder what would happen if this emerging "Rainbow Church" were to actually "Invite" people to church?

In some ways it is a frightening notion. 

But for me the Episcopal Church is worth saving and worth breathing life into. We've pretty much run out of internal struggles to battle over. It is settled. We are now inclusive of all. Period.

So won't you consider this? 

Just give us a try.

Go to the Episcopal Church nearest you and try it on for size...and all you Episcopalians out there. Here's a thought: For God sake's run a Membership Drive. If you need help, give me a call. I'll show you how.

Bless us one and all,

Fr. Paul


krowles1981 said...

Good idea showing an empty church for membership sunday Fr. Paul. This is Kim Reinholz former youth ministry coordinator for St Gabriel's. I pray that you will have a good turn out for your membership drive. I will be praying for you that day as I do all days.

Maggid said...

Love, Love, Love this post!
I'm going to try to LIVE this way - as if I, personally, am having a "membership drive."

Bet you & I BOTH have Amazing and Holy Results.

Thank you so much for all you are & do,

"Fr. Paul" Bresnahan said...

Thank you Kim and give me so much hope and encouragement. I've been at it 40 years now and just celebrated my 67th birthday yesterday...but I never let up. We can do it! I love this church of ours with all my heart soul and mind. Now let's get up and at it...we're the best kept secret in Christianity...let's not keep the secret any more...put this church up on the Lamp Stand so it can Give Light to the World!

Jan G. said...

In all the years I have known you and heard you preach the Word, I still learn something each time. Thank you so much.

"Fr. Paul" Bresnahan said...

I keep coming up with surprises Jan...I even surprise myself sometimes with what I come up with! Don't this one beat all! Not bad for an old fella!