Low church attendance


To the Editor:
In reflecting on the Nov. 27 article titled: “Reasons for Low Church Attendance,” I thought of a few inspiring congregations.
When I was in the Peace Corps at Lesotho (which is surrounded by South Africa), a Catholic Church service was held each Sunday in a vacant thatched hut. A priest came through every three or more months. Therefore, the lay people led the weekly prayer service. The Bible was read and prayers sung for an hour. There was barely enough standing room to get everyone into the hut.
A second tour in the Peace Corps took me to a village in Liberia. There people intertwined their faith into daily acts.
In both places I heard a regular succession of conversations among parishioners that bore witness to what faith action this or that fellow congregant had recently done. For instance, last week Martha fed and housed overnight two strangers who were hard up on bad times and traveling through. In another instance, Peter (who is fairly well off) walked by when Sam (who is poor) was hoeing his garden. Peter pitched right in and helped out until the work was done.
I heard of lots of neighborly deeds being performed and people were framing these in the context of a religious experience. In contrast are examples of lay congregations that wrap themselves around fundraising or measure their worth via larger projects. These activities may lack sharing a somewhat magical, that is, joyful, intimate moment that Christians can find inspiring and definitely rewarding as a religious experience.
Perhaps, this is a reason for low church attendance.
John Clayton

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