24 Dec 2011

Church Closed For Christmas

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David Gibson, in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, shared some facts about life in today’s America which caused my jaw to drop.

Nearly 10% of Protestant churches will be closed on Christmas Sunday this year, according to LifeWay Research, and most pastors who are opening up say they expect far fewer people than on other Sundays. Other reports suggest that churches across the board are scaling down their services in anticipation of fewer worshipers.

“We have to face the reality of families who don’t want to struggle to get kids dressed and come to church,” Brad Jernberg of Dallas’s Cliff Temple Baptist Church told the Associated Baptist Press. Similarly, Beth Car Baptist Church in Halifax, Va., is planning a short service featuring bluegrass riffs on Christmas music. “I’ll do a brief sermon, and then we’re going home,” said Pastor Mike Parnell.

Even in denominations organized around the liturgical calendar and sacramental worship, like the Catholic, Episcopal and Orthodox churches, kid-friendly Christmas Eve services (actually held in the late afternoon) are proliferating—the “Jingle Bell Mass,” one Catholic priest dubbed them—while “Midnight Mass” is often a term of art, ending rather than starting at the stroke of midnight.

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Strange and bizarre as this sounds, USA Today reports the same story.

Among the nation’s top 20 largest Protestant churches — as ranked by Outreach Magazine — three will be closed on Christmas, and 10 will be having only one service, The Tennessean reports.

LifeChurch.tv, an Oklahoma-based megachurch with 14 locations in five states, says it will be closed on Christmas, but it plans to hold Christmas Eve services.

In Atlanta, First Baptist Church will hold morning services on Christmas Eve but close on Sunday.

Life Research, based in Nashville, says its national survey of Protestant churches found that 91% would hold at least one service Christmas morning, while about 9% will not worship on Sunday at all. Some plan Christmas Eve services instead.

Wow! I would say myself that there is something seriously wrong with the perspective and priorities of churches and denominations adopting this particular policy.

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One Feedback on "Church Closed For Christmas"

Surellin

I don’t find it unusual at all. I’m a fifty-weeks-a-year churchgoer, but I have never gone on Christmas day. The reasons are, 1). It’s an awfully busy day, and 2). We go to church the night before for the Christmas Eve service.



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