Easter is yet another reminder of the possibility of new life, including for the Church. Our culture, which used to be driven primarily by a civic faith where people went to church because that was the norm, is increasingly not that way anymore. This is one of the reasons the Church of the 21st century has to get into the crossroads of our time: the Internet.
Whether you are an urban, suburban, or rural parish, you want to have a presence at the crossroads of our time. This is where communication is happening, and in many instances, through Facebook, Twitter, etc. this is also where community is happening. How can you make your presence relevant here?
Could you consider using You Tube and any other tool to get the word out about the uniqueness of your identity? That reminds me to ask you a fundamental question as a congregation: WHO ARE YOU? If you need help with getting started or honing your church web site, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and she could walk you through the basic steps.
Another thing you may consider is the liturgy. Consider offering an alternative liturgy with some focus on young people. There are tools available, but the handiest tool is the creativity in your parish. Dig deep and wide and don’t give up until you are able to create an offering for our youth. I am putting together a strategic planning group to help us move forward in developing vibrant formation ministries among all our young saints.
Finally, for now, let me encourage you to remember that we have an amazing message of hope for these trying times. The risen Christ trumps all the malaise in our individual psyche and society. Let us claim this hope and appropriate it, so that we can communicate it in creative ways. To be sure, the challenges of these times are very real, but so is the hope in the risen Christ. Remember also that joy does not need to be either faked or contained, and who would want to fake or contain the genuine joy that comes from God, in Christ, who rose victorious from the grave and wins over everything that pronounces death!
Your Servant in Christ,
VIII Bishop of Rochester