A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Monday, April 16, 2012

What Constitutes a Vital Congregation?

While the Vatican's rationale for reopening the parishes was due to Bishop Lennon's failure to "properly follow church law and procedures," parishioners in the thirteen congregations argued that they remained vital churches.

My interest in this post has nothing to do with whether or not Bishop Lennon went about this in the prescribed way, nor am I in a position to judge whether or not these church were vital when they were closed. What I am interested in is what exactly constitutes a vital congregation. Is it simply because a church building is historic or that it's congregation has a storied history? Is vitality measured because one's family has attended a particular parish for three or four generations? Is a church vital because it contains precious art and magnificent architecture?

I don't think there is only one or two things that make a church vital, but I would say there are some essentials, and that without those essentials a congregation's vitality is in serious doubt.

I have some thoughts on this, but I would like to hear from you. What do you believe constitutes a vital congregation? I am not looking for an exhaustive answer. I just want to know what you think is essential for congregational vitality.

1 comment:

Donald Sensing said...

"Vital Congregations" is exactly the term of the initiative out of the Council of Bishops of the UMC. They do in fact say what makes a congregation vital. See the web site.