10/13/08

A proud moment...

Let me tell you something. It's hard to help an old church renew itself, harder then you can imagine.

Most of the older small churches in Orthodoxy are that way for a reason. Perhaps they had a small immigrant base upon which to build and demographics took their toll. Sometimes these churches were planted in places without the population to truly grow a sustainable church. There may also have been a good chance of pathology in their past, hurts, pains, struggles, and conflict that drove people away and diverted vital energy. Often, too, there was a simple lack of planning and proactive management in the development of churches, skills lost in the state church / persecuted church heritage of the Orthodox who came to this land.

Regardless there are any number of parishes out there, too small to be sustainable, too large or too stubborn to die, and a handful of folks trying to make a go of it. St. Elias is one of those churches and we're fighting to save it. We have to deal with the reality of where we are, the work we must do, and the fact that there will be no help for us coming from anywhere. The money for missions is, sadly, pitiful, and big churches largely have no interest in helping the stragglers. The diocese sends a Priest and hopes something might happen. The bottom line is that we're all alone.

Yet we're slowly crawling out from under. Visitors are coming, a trickle now, but still some. The core is largely holding steady. We're building and repairing, taking care of those things that couldn't be done when there was a full time Priest with a salary. The kitchen is next to be fixed and my hope is that a winning attitude will come with the renewal of the building. Yes, we've got a ways to go. We need to relearn our faith, and learn how to evangelize. We still need to see ourselves as a people with a call from God on our lives and a vital mission in LaCrosse. The task list is long.

But the garage will be done by the end of the month and the kitchen hopefully by the end of the year and its a proud moment as we claw our way out into the sun. Pray for us.


2 comments:

Matthew McQueen said...

Father, Bless.

I am praying for your parish.

Matt M.

Mimi said...

Father, bless,

Be assured of my prayers.