Bishop Thomas E. Breidenthal (Southern Ohio) writing in the Cincinnati Enquirer:
As some know, the parish of St. Michael & All Angels has been closed, owing to dwindling numbers. This is understandably a sad time for those who are losing their accustomed weekly gathering for worship in a place they love. But this is not the whole story. The Episcopal Church is not leaving Avondale. On the contrary, we are convinced that now, more than ever, we are called to stand with those who seek peace and justice and the possibility of common life in the inner city. God has provided us in St. Michael's with a strategic location for such a ministry, and we intend to move forward as quickly as possible to make this a reality.
I know there are Episcopal parishes in Cincinnati who stand ready to pledge financial and personal resources to create an effective urban mission at St. Michael's. I dream of a powerful ministry to children in Avondale - providing a space on St. Michael's ample property for tutoring, athletics and after-school events. A focus on children would make great sense, given the proximity of Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
But these are just my thoughts. We cannot know what St. Michael & All Angels should become until we have sat with the people of Avondale and learned from them what their needs are and how we can fit into that.
It will take time - six months or more - for these conversations to take place and for a clear vision of the future role of the Episcopal Church in Avondale to emerge. In the meantime, the ministries operating out of St. Michael & All Angels will carry on. These include a health clinic and a food pantry, both of which have been fully funded by the diocese, and both of which will continue to receive funding.
One thing is clear: the church cannot turn its back on the city. The Bible and Christian tradition see the city as a central image for the kingdom of God.
Read it all here.