So "anonymous" (who seems to have ever so much time to post comments to this blog!) sent me the following "new TEC Hymn" for my comment:
Our gospel is inclusive.
(The other one's passe.)
We welcome all the sexes,
And though we're loudly preaching
Our relevant good news,
We are a tad perplexed by
So many empty pews.
--Rev. J. M. Deschene, Rhode Island
Well, I am a tad perplexed. But what I'm perplexed about are which pews Reverend Deschene is referring to. Ours are pretty darned full, thank you very much, even in the "dead of summer" when all good Episcopalians used to retire to somewhere else until it was time to pack the white shoes away until Memorial Day. In point of fact we had standing room only at last week's Narnia Kid's Camp. A full house for Sunday's between-services-adult-ed-offering. And a fifty-voice volunteer choir to lead us out on "A mighty fortress is our God" -- one of my all time favs -- as we processed out to love and serve the Lord for another week. Attendance is up. Giving is up. Energy is up.
And it isn't just here at All Saints Church. At Saturday's deanery budget review meeting Bishop Bruno and staff brought us reports that showed diocesan pledged income above budget projections for this point in 2006. Nearly $200,000 above. And parish giving percentages are up, too ... from an average of 10% to 10.5%. The Episcopal Church, it seems, IS alive and well ... how come we don't hear more about that?
Why do we keep hearing about the 600 or so disgruntled members who've left this diocese for greener Ugandan pastures rather than the 60,000 plus who are doing just fine doing justice and loving mercy as Episcopalians?
Why do we have to spend so much time, energy and angst on the four congregations who think they're not Episcopalian anymore rather than focusing on the energy, activity and ministry of the 140+ who are?
That's what I'm perplexed about. Anybody got a hymn for that?