A Perfect Storm
May 12, 2009
St. David's Episcopal Church in South Yarmouth, MA, faces a perfect storm
in the prospects for its future as an ongoing congregation. First, the demographics
of the population on Cape Cod are increasingly skewed toward aging citizens.
As a consequence, the potential pool of members is decreased at the younger
age range, from whence continuity as well as innovation could be expected.
Second, the Cape is considerably over-churched, with many small congregations
at a survival level of one hundred or less active members. Third, the turmoil
in the national church militates against the attractiveness of local parishes. Who
wants to join a church whose members are at war, publicly, with one another?
Last, the current economic downturn has reduced the pool of funds from which
long time members draw upon to contribute to their church.
The vestry of St. David's has now decided to seek a part-time rector, because
they cannot pay the going rate for a full-time priest. This plan has its own
special difficulties, but it is not necessarily a bad outcome. If greater
involvement by the laity in clerical functions results, the church may be better
off. That is essentially what was recommended in the previous post.
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