Mainline Protestantism Rises As Evangelicalism Declines

I don’t have the exact numbers at hand, but I am fairly certain that there hasn’t been a time since 1980 when the percentage of white mainline Protestants in the general population was HIGHER than the percentage of white evangelicals. That’s at least four decades – maybe longer. But this is a genuine shift away from white evangelicalism toward mainline Protestantism. | Diana Butler Bass

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Worship on Wednesday

Fr. Scott is hosting Wednesday Morning Worship and Kaffeeklatsch at 9:30 each week. We’ll gather for a simple service of Holy Communion followed by coffee and conversation. Topics will include current events, Bible study, local happenings, or anything else we decide to bring up. Stop by and join us when you can!

Be Transformed by the Renewing of Your Minds

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

BCP pages 280, 291, 515, 528 and 540

The great collect of renewal, one of the most beautiful and powerful Anglican prayers, appears more often in the Book of Common Prayer than any other.  We hear it on Good Friday, at the Easter Vigil, and at the ordinations of bishops, priests and deacons.  It proclaims the mighty power of God to transform weakness, brokenness and age into perfection—holy perfection.

Its frequent repetition supports the concept that this transformation and renewal is not something locked at a certain point in time but is continuous and ongoing.  Indeed, each day God calls us to transformation and renewal.  It is said that the great scholar and reformer, Martin Luther, ran from his bed to wash in the baptismal font of his church each morning as a sacramental act of continuous transformation and renewal in each of God’s children.

The Church uses many sacramental signs to remind us of our continuing call to renewal and transformation.  The water in the baptismal font at the door of the church, the sprinkling (or aspurging) of all the people with the holy waters of baptism, and the sacramental cycles of the Church Year all remind us that we are ever beginning again; never complete in this world.

Another sacramental symbol of renewal and transformation is the butterfly.  From the earliest days of Christianity, the butterfly was associated with the celebration of Easter.  The symbolism is clear enough really.  Jesus was born and lived among us (the caterpillar stage), he died and was buried (the chrysalis stage), and he rose in a new and transformed state at Easter (the butterfly stage).

The butterfly is not only symbolic of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, but also of our own.  We too are born, will die, and are assured of resurrection to eternal life.  The butterfly is a symbol of hope in Jesus’ everlasting promise of salvation.  It is also a reminder that we are called to renew and transform ourselves; always seeking to more fully live into God’s call to us as sisters and brothers of Jesus Christ.

At this time of year, there are many symbols of renewal and transformation all around us.  Trees that appeared dead spring forth with leaves and newness of life.  Flower bulbs long buried under the snow and frozen ground astonish us with their sudden profusion of brilliant flowers.  And before long, the butterflies will be adorning the trees, bushes and flowers as well.

In these Great Fifty Days of Easter, open yourselves to experience the power of God’s renewing and transforming Spirit.  Seek out ways to continue to mature and flower as a beloved child of God.  Let the healing power of the Risen Christ empower you to stretch and grow in newness of life.

As Paul writes to the Church in Rome, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

Alleluia!  Christ is risen!

Second Saturday Study Group Oct. 12, Nov. 9 & Dec. 14 at 9:30 am

How are we, as people of faith, called to care for the “least of these” in our community?

Join us for our Second Saturday Study Group to learn how we are called to serve the “least of these” who suffer from hunger, homelessness and addiction. This series of discussions will be held on the second Saturdays of October, November and December. We will learn how hunger, homelessness and addiction impact our community and society at large, and we will begin to discern how we are called to respond. “Just as you did it to one of the least of these…you did it to me.”

Wednesday Evening Soup Suppers and Lenten Study Begin March 13

For many Christians, science and faith seem incompatible. Our Wednesday evening Soup Suppers and Lenten Study will provide an opportunity to discuss how and if we can reconcile faith and science in the 21st Century. Topics will include creation, time, genetics and the cosmos, all in relation to God.

Soup Suppers and Lenten Study begin March 13 at 6:30 pm and continue each week through Lent.

Second Saturday Discussions

second-saturday-logoJoin us at 9:30 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month as we delve deeper into topics important to the faith journey of all Christians. These one-hour discussion groups are informal and everyone is welcome to join us when your schedule permits.

Our current discussion series focuses on C. S. Lewis’ masterwork, Mere Christianity. Discussion topics will include: How do we differentiate right from wrong? Who is God? What is Free Will? How should Christians behave? Why is hope so vital to humans? Why is there a Trinity? What is the cost of being Christian?

About Mere Christianity

mc-cover-artOne of the most popular and beloved introductions to the concept of faith ever written, Mere Christianity is a collection of scintillating brilliance which remains strikingly fresh for the modern reader, and which confirms C. S. Lewis’s reputation as one of the leading Christian writers and thinkers of our age. The book brings together C. S. Lewis’s legendary radio broadcasts during the World War II years, in which he set out simply to “explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times.” Rejecting the boundaries that divide Christianity’s many denominations, Mere Christianity provides an unequalled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to absorb a powerful, rational case for the Christian faith. A forceful and accessible discussion of Christian belief, Mere Christianity is one of the most widely read and discussed introductions to Christianity ever written. Lewis uncovers common ground upon which all Christians can stand together.

About C. S. Lewis

cs-lewisClive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. A close friend and colleague of J. R. R. Tolkien, Lewis was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954, when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. Lewis wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over one hundred million copies and have been adapted into three major motion pictures.