What do you think?

What isn’t Said At Every Dying Methodist Church

Was reading this article earlier today about a 142 year old United Methodist Church that is dying a typical slow death in the UMC. Nothing really out of the ordinary with a UMC falling in membership. We’ve had these before, one such instance I could find with a quick search. What was most interesting to me with this article was the responses of ‘why’ this is happening and their total blindness to their own control over it.

The size of the congregation whittles down each year as older members pass away and younger generations choose to attend what Strauch refers to as mega churches. Main Street United claims just 35 members and averages between 15 to 20 for its services.

The future of the church is in peril, considering the average age of the congregation is 82 and the youngest families in the church are in their 60s.

“A lot of it has been due to deceased members,” says Robert Hunt, who is nearing his 15th year as the church pastor. “We’ve had a lot of walk-in traffic from the neighborhood, but they don’t stay.”

First off if you want to be a church that is growing you need to stop worrying about, and playing the victim of, the mega-church. Faith population wise the mega-church only covers a small percentage of people. If trends pan out there will be continued movement back towards a close, relational, faith community by generations to come. The mega-church will continue to be around, but this relationship will be a both/and not an either/or.

If you are a church that has ‘a lot of walk-in traffic from the neighborhood’ (which is awesome) but they do not stay then you need to be asking yourself as a congregation, “WHY?” Why are they not staying? Reading on we might have some idea.

The Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church owns Main Street United, and Hunt says conference officials advised him and the trustees to merge with another or modernize by putting in a projection screen and musical instruments for worship.

The congregation opposes installing new technology and prefers praise and worship as traditional as the three-floor structure the church operates out of on the corner of East Main Street and Pershing Drive in the Emily Kimbrough Historic District.

What does this tell whomever visits? This congregation is just fine dying. They do not care to revive the health of their church. To anyone who visits, they will sense this. No, projection and contemporary music are not the cure-alls for a dying church. Changing the culture of the church, which changing up worship and technologies is a step, gives people something to look forward to in the future.

What I found crazy with this church historically was this nugget in describing the church architecture (which sounds pretty impressive in places).

There is a wood accordion door that cuts the sanctuary ground floor down in size by about a third. Strauch says an orchestra played there in the days when hundreds attended services.

Pretty sure the insertion of an orchestra was a pretty contemporary thing do some 100-80 years ago. It’s in this church’s DNA to be innovative in worship, but they’ve totally stalled at one point in this aging congregations life as ‘the sweet spot’ and they are happy to take their ship/church down with them.

This ends how we all know it will. They know it as well.

For Strauch and the rest of the shrinking but unwavering congregation, the idea of shutting the doors on the church is incomprehensible. The Main Street United members have no intention of being another statistic.

“Most of us will hold out because we don’t want to go to the big churches,” Strauch says. “There’s some people that want us to close it down, but we’re going to keep it open.”

These doors will close and it is a shame. This church could have had a lasting life if the people who claim to love it would actually live into the culture the church had when they probably started going to it.

Photo from the Star Press photo gallery of this church

The post What Isn’t Said At Every Dying Methodist Church appeared first on gavoweb. From: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/04/what-isnt-said-at-every-dying-methodist-church/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook

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April newsletter

The Cornerstone
A newsletter for and by the people called United Methodist in Gouverneur and North Gouverneur.
34 Grove Street, Gouverneur NY 13646 315-287-2440
From the Pastor:
Grace and Peace in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
I am just writing a short note to thank you for your faithful support of the ministries here at First United Methodist. Because of your tithe or gift we are able to reach out to our neighbors here in the community and, through the denomination, we are touching lives all around the globe.
➢ a child feels loved and welcomed in Sunday School or dance…
➢ a family in the community receives food, fuel oil, a warm coat…
➢ mourners celebrate the life of a loved one at a personalized funeral…
➢ Scouts, 4-H, special needs persons, dieters have a place to meet…
➢ worship lifts our spirits and challenges our daily living…
➢ the resource center provides free materials for our study groups…
➢ engineers, educators, doctors venture across national boundaries…
➢ people of faith take a stand in the face of injustice and prejudice…
➢ families, teens and children encounter God via one of the camp programs…
➢ men and women have a place to ask questions, disagree, learn about themselves and Christ…
➢ a hot meal is shared along with table conversation….
➢ a family, new to the community, finds a place to belong with fellow Christians…
➢ a soldier in Afghanistan receives a box of breakfast goodies and prayers for safety…

While we might be tempted to think in terms of budgets and bills, your financial support of this church is all about ministry – providing a place, a pastor, a program, a people – that touches lives and makes a difference in the world.
If you pledge and support this ministry on a regular basis: THANK YOU!
If you would like to be listed as one of those who makes an upfront and consistent gift to First UMC: JUST START DOING IT! AND THANK YOU!
If your giving potential is extremely limited: THANK YOU FOR DOING WHAT YOU CAN!
To everyone: let us continue to rejoice together as we are the body of Christ through our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness to the world.

Tuesday. April 15th, 9:30-Noon
All ages: elementary right thru adults!

That’s right…. Luke and Beckie Wachob are coming from Camp Aldersgate for a morning of stories, songs, crafts, hotdogs, s’mores and ???
It’s part of our WGYB – We’ve Got Your Back outreach. Any and all kids and teens from the community are being invited to a morning of fun during the Holy Week vacation from school. Of course we’ll need some adult helpers too! So, if you play guitar, like to do crafts, can lead games or know your way around the kitchen – or campfire – sign up to join the WGYB “staff.”
$75. AND GO
Have you got your registration in for camp?
There’s been a little confusion, but this year it’s $75 and go. The camper pays the registration fee and we will do the rest. Brochures are available in the office or check online at unyumc.org. Get camping!

April 6 – Broken Justice concludes the Lenten series. 2 Corinthians 5:20-21, Communion
Wear a cross/bring a cross to worship

April 13 – Palm Sunday. We will start with “Hosannas” and palms, hear from our elementary classes, and end by stripping the church in preparation for events to follow later in the week. Matthew 21:1-11, Ps. 118.

Holy Thursday, April 17 – 7:00 p.m. Join Jesus in the chapel for the last supper. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Holy Friday, April 18 – 7:00 p.m. We turn to John 18:1-10:42 to hear Jesus speak from the cross.

Easter Sunrise – 7:00 a.m. @ Hurlbut farm, N. Gouverneur (Rock Island, past church, cars parked along road on hilltop!). Includes communion.
(BREAKFAST – 8:00 a.m. at the N.Gouv church!)

Easter, April 20 – It will be a triumphant celebration of resurrection with special music and our dancers.
Matthew 28:1-10 Meeting Christ a little further down the road.

April 27 – Worship will be led by our lay speakers, as the pastor heads west with her mom!
THANKS to everyone that signed up to help with one of the many jobs that help worship go smoothly. In fact so many volunteered it might take a while to get to everyone. That’s our bag of dynamite!

T0: 1st UMC Members and Add Hope Committee,
Thank you for your recent donations to the Neighborhood Center. Your kindness does not go unnoticed and will help us serve those in need in our community. Your support will enable us in our mission to encourage and assist individuals and families to attain self-reliance, dignity, and self-sufficiency through education, guidance and services.

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Methodist Men’s Retreat at Aldersgate

All men are invited to the Men’s Retreat at Aldersgate Camp and Retreat Center, Greig, NY April 25 – 27. The theme will be “Fisher’s of Men”. More information will be forthcoming. Check: http://www.uppernyumm.org/

This years UMM gathering will be April 25th-27th and we have invited pastor Lynn Lockwood to show us how to to be “Fishers of Men”. We have also invited Christian singer & song writer Ben Horrervoetts. Corrections officer for 28 years he brings a musical message of Hope through Christ. Further info regarding the event content and registration is available on our conference website uppernyumm.org. Thanks to all our keynote speakers over the past 8 years for making the UMM gathering a “spiritual experience”.


David Evans
44 Blackburn Ct.
New Hartford, NY 13413

Please feel free to call in your registration!

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Free Webinars

Visit the www.gbod.org website for more information. Webinars are available in many topics.

Registration now through March 10 for new online courses: http://view.esp.umcom.org/?j=fefc1d70716600&m=fe9412727760077a76&ls=fe2916767c660579701075&l=ff65107675&s=fe591374716603797011&jb=ffc71c&ju=fe8c16757c66027b70&r=0

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Fall Adirondack Get-Away

October 3 – 5

Come enjoy the beauty of autumn at Aldersgate amid the tall pines, quiet lakes, and breathtaking scenic paths. Whether experiencing the stillness of a cabin nestled in the woods, taking a quiet walk down to the lake, or sitting in one of the outdoor chapels, this is the perfect place to find rest and renewal. Some activities will include enjoying an Adirondack storyteller, a popular bluegrass band, guided nature hikes, and renewing fellowship and worship. Join us for a weekend you will remember for a lifetime! (Adults Only)

For information on how to register, contact us: 315-348-8833 or info@aldersgateny.org or http://aldersgateny.org/index.php/join-us/all-events

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AdironDog Retreat

September 5 – 7

Take your best friend on an unforgettable 3-day weekend retreat to the beautiful Adirondack Bark… err Park. Enjoy the company of other dogs and dog lovers, celebrate the full expression of your pet’s personality, and embrace the sacred nature of your bond with your dog. Activities will include wilderness hikes, lots of open space for play time, homemade dog-treat baking, specialized guest speakers, a pet blessing, and dog grooming by appointment. Sign up soon, space is limited!

For well-socialized dogs with up-to-date vaccinations.

For more information and how to register, contact us: 315-348-8833 or info@aldersgateny.org or http://aldersgateny.org/index.php/join-us/all-events

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Committee on Native American Ministries

The Upper New York Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) plans District training events. The Northern Flow District events will be held April 26 (location, southern part of the District TBA) and on May 3 in Massena, First UMC.

The journey toward Repentance and Healing of Relationships with Indigenous Persons continues in Upper New York with a series of District Learning Sessions hosted by the Conference Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM).

Upper New York has a rich heritage and presence of Native Americans. These District Learning Sessions are an opportunity for listening, learning and building relationships with Native Americans and learning how to use the Act of Repentance DVD in local churches.

Local church representatives to CONAM, pastors, UMW members, lay leaders and all interested persons are invited to spend a few hours with Native Americans hearing stories and building friendships.

Registration for the sessions will be handled through each district office. Watch the Conference website (unyumc.org) for more details as the dates approach.

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Mission opportunity available locally

Volunteer in Mission opportunity upcoming at Aldersgate Camp and Retreat Center

There will be a VIM (Volunteer in Mission) team experience working at Aldersgate Camp and Retreat Center during the April school break. It will begin Sunday afternoon, April 13 and finish mid-day April 17. The cost will be $120/person and there will be some scholarship funds available from UNYVIM. It will be clean up and perhaps some construction depending on the skill level of the team. Sylvia Reimer is the team leader and will send an application to anyone who is interested. Her phone number is 315-778-5074 and her email address is unyvim@gmail.com

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Summer camp registration available

Please visit the Aldersgate Camp and Retreat Center website: www.aldersgateny.org to view summer camp opportunites, choose your program (s) and register.

Applications are also being accepted for summer staff positions via the same website link or call Aldersgate, 315-348-8833 or email info@aldersgateny.org

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Camp & Retreat Ministries Newsletter


Click on the link for the latest from Camps and Retreat Ministries. Check out retreats and summer camp listings.

Why should your child attend church camp? http://www.thereisgrace.com/why-your-kids-should-go-to-church-camp/

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