What is your only comfort?

Urban God-talk for the church-o-phobic.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Dour Calvinists!

Following worship this past Sunday, we gathered for our annual congregational photo. I had almost forgotten that we were going to take the photo until I realized that all of the men in the church had wore suits to worship. The mother of one of the little girls later told me that she was so excited about the church photo that she had demanded to have her toenails painted for the event.

This year we outgrew our previous location in the front of the sanctuary, so we braved the cold and went outside in front of the church. Phil, our beloved and talented photographer, told us to say 'cheese' for the first shot. After this, he asked for ideas of other things we could say. From the back of the group someone shouted "dour Presbyterians."

Here we are, but I don't think we've mastered looking like dour Calvinists.


At 4:02 PM, Blogger James Brumm said...

No, you haven't managed to look dour. Rejoice and be glad!

I really think "dour Calvinists" is an oxymoron, anyway. I think Calvin had a sly sense of humor. Who else would have created consistories?

At 5:52 PM, Blogger greg said...

For such a small congregation, you have an astronomical number of kids. How do you do that?

At 7:13 PM, Blogger Ann said...

When I began at the church, I couldn't have EVER imagined having any kids. I ran into Rev. Arthur Caliandro from Marble Collegiate at a Christmas party that year and he said, "Ann, if you're going to be a part of revitalizing a congregation you have to have some kids. If you find kinds, everything else will follow. Kids. That's the way to go."

I thought that Arthur was a little dillusional because there was no way a kid would want to come to our church (or so I thought). But the Holy Spirit works miricles for fools and rookie pastors. One day, quite by chance, two different families visited. Their kids really liked the service, and each family came back the following week. A few weeks after that, one of the families brought some friends, and then word of mouth spread among the kids.

So, to answer your question about how we ended up with such a high number of kids, I guess there isn't a good answer except that God is really amazing.

When it comes to running the church, it's really up to the kids. They collect the offering, offer the prayer concerns (yes, I've prayed for dead goldfish, new puppies, lost teeth, dance performances and 3rd grade exams), and make sure that everyone feels welcomed. A few months back we had a "bring a friend to church Sunday." Guess who brought most of the new folks? Yup. The kids.

I can honestly say that they really love church. One set of parents joke that they use church as punishment - if the kids don't behave they don't get to go to church on Sunday. I couldn't quite belive that, but I actually saw it in action one day.

And to top it off, the kids are really amazing theologians. Their answers during the children's sermons are just amazing.

At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Marey said...

You're doin' good! Many churches would envy your child:adult ratio!



At 11:09 PM, Blogger Ann said...

Yes, we were joking on Sunday that we need to work on evangelizing the 70-80+ demographic so that we can increase the diversity of the congregation.

At 9:42 AM, Blogger `tim said...

hmmm...I'll trade you a few....

jk :-)

Grace and Peace,

At 1:30 AM, Anonymous Lorna said...


I stopped by to thank you for your advent devotional too. It really inspired me! Telling our journey with God is SO important.

At 3:36 PM, Blogger Ann said...

I'm so glad that you were inspired by my piece in the Advent devotional. I'm honored to have been included with such a great group of folks!

At 3:40 PM, Blogger Ann said...

Hi Tim,
You might not believe this, but having a very young congregation does have some pitfalls. For starters, I'm really bad about hospital visits because I don't get much of a workout in that area of pastoral care. I'm really grateful for the handful of older folks because they are the ones who teach me to pray, who are best able to lovingly correct my foolish youthful ways and who are best able to pass on the insitutional memory of our church.

Of course, it's the older folks who are best able to be excited that there are so many kids around. They know how important young life is to the overall life of the church. It's a real gift for me to watch all this going on. God is really good.


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