On the heels of our last item about closing small churches, comes this item on saving small churches. Thanks to Sally Hicks at the Duke Divinity School’s online magazine Faith & Leadership for pointing us to this package of stories by Bob Wells.
It’s not that the retelling renders a story powerless. But it does make a story hard to hear the way you heard it the first time. Like it happened the first time.
What gets lost in the retelling, even with the Paschal mystery, is surprise. Shock. The jaw-dropping, slap-me-in-the-face astonishment and wonder of the unexpected.
But this Easter, one small church in North Carolina will hear the story afresh, with ears attuned to surprise.
A historically African-American congregation, St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church barely had a pulse two years ago, when maybe 15 people showed up on a good Sunday. Even worse, after sharing a priest for 40 years with the white Episcopal parish across town, St. Cyprian’s was suddenly on its own. Some in the tiny church believed it would die.
Today, propelled by one unexpected event after another, St. Cyprian’s is growing
Here is an Easter sermon by St. Cyprian’s vicar.