Sunday, January 24, 2016

Churches in rural communities - better together

Joyce Sasse
Joyce Sasse, Spiritual Gleanings

“Better Together”. That’s the motto that goes through my mind as I think about maintaining an affiliation between churches in rural communities.

Members from various churches constantly interact with each other at the hockey rink or the service club meeting or over coffee. Yet Sunday morning is when these same people segregate themselves in their various churches to worship and handle the work of their religious denominations.

People on the outside draw their own conclusions about the life and work of “The Church” and see it to be fractionalized. It gives them no incentive to become involved.

But I believe a strong Ministerial Association makes all the difference. When clergy from a variety of denominations can work together, good things can happen on many levels. When clergy can share the things they have in common, and respect each other where there are differences, the community mirrors the same in its respect for the extended Faith Community.

When a Nursing Home was newly opened in a Saskatchewan community, clergy from parishes covering a thousand square miles used it as a focal point where they could get to know each other, coordinate their work, and share prayer, study papers and pastoral responsibilities.

One Easter Monday a fire in the local Catholic church caused damage to the Priest’s office. Fellow clergy immediately thought of his library and organized a community pot-luck supper and hymn sing evening. Thus they were able to fund-raise for the replacement of some of his books.

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