/ fading churches / Kit Swartz

Fading Churches

(Author's Note: As with many previous posts, this one has been sent as a letter to the editor in our two local newspapers.)

The Worship Directory has been missing from the Saturday editions of our local newspapers over the last few weeks and it is reported by one editor that this absence will continue. This is understandable as the paper and ink is not sufficiently compensated by the modest fees charged to include information about the various churches.  But it is another evidence that the positive impact of churches on the life of our community is fading to black.

Churches in Oswego and Fulton continue to consolidate, collapse or close altogether.  At the same time, the need for social services is overwhelming.  Counseling businesses are multiplying along with mental healthcare provisions. Police departments at every level – city, county, state – are hard pressed to keep up with demands, public and private legal services are buried with work and jails are beyond capacity. The need for emergency services for housing, food and clothing are greater than ever.

Is there a connection between the decrease of churches and the increase of these troubles?  When a society has lost its conscience because there is no commonly acknowledged standard of right and wrong, internal disorders and external chaos follow.  Without an internalized conviction of the evil of murder, unjust killing – including mass murder - and all manner of physical injuries result.  Without a conscientious persuasion of the propriety of human, heterosexual, monogamous and covenanted sexuality, all kinds of wickedness ensue. Marriages and families are destroyed or never built.  Abused boys become abusive men; abused women become abusive mothers.  Hopeless children become hopeless adults for whom the only relief is intoxication and death.  Private and public property is unjustly taken or trashed.  Lies, frauds and deceptions become an art form and a way of life.  No one is content and each one does whatever it takes to get what they want.

No churches, no internal or external order.  No religion, no morals.  No love and worship of God, no love and care for neighbor.  There is, rightly, a wall between church and state, but there must also be many windows and doors of cooperation between them if the community that depends on both will survive and thrive.  

God help us!