Thursday, September 28, 2017

Legacy ministries to dying churches give congregations a way to end well

From Faith and Leadership-

After the funeral for yet another member of Richfield United Methodist Church earlier this year, nine of the 12 remaining members of this rural 111-year-old church (the other three are homebound) got together to discuss their future.

By many metrics, the church was still vibrant. It had a healthy $90,000 balance in its treasury; it regularly contributed to the local community, collecting food and school supplies; it was proud of its near-perfect attendance record. Unless someone was sick or in a nursing home, every member could be counted on to be at church on Sunday mornings.

But the colonial brick building in the central region of North Carolina had not drawn new members in more than a decade. The two textile mills in nearby Albemarle had long closed, and a mill in the town of Richfield had shuttered. With no industry and few jobs, the small community of 600-plus residents was unlikely to grow.

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