Friday, December 21, 2007


Check out this NYT article about St. Bart’s, New York City and the Rev. Bill Tully. Established parishes in urban areas often face unique and difficult challenges. Many of the largest cities in the U.S. are not exactly hotbeds of religious devotion. Doing business in New York is costly. The resources, directed to build these historic churches, are long gone. Patterns of giving to churches has radically changed, and not for the good.

In the article, Father Tully says, “I didn’t want to be known as the rector of a fancy landmark and nothing more.” This quote presents the reality and challenges that many churches face. We spend a good deal of time and money preserving buildings. Managing property is part of our task, but it can’t be out of proportion to our Gospel mission. Our properties are tools to fulfill the Gospel mission and nothing more.

Advent is nearing completion. We would do well to rededicate ourselves to our core task, as we mark the beginning of it. The Christ is coming, and we are called to make it known. Are we dedicated to historic preservation or proclamation?

To Keep Doors Open, St. Bart’s Opens Its Arms

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