My career was as a teacher. Like my father before me, I taught English. I had the opportunity to teach many poems, plays, essays, novels and short stories. Although my favourite writer was Shakespeare, I was also influenced by many essays and short stories.
One such short story was about a man who had nothing. He was hungry and cold, in a town that was not very well off. He decided to go to the centre of town and build a fire. He put a pot of water on to boil and added some stones to the pot. This of course, was unusual in the town centre, so other villagers were curious about what he was doing. The first villager to stop asked him, “What are you cooking?”
The man replied, “stone soup.” The villager said he had never heard of stone soup before and asked if the soup was good. The man replied, “the soup is really good but would be better if it had a couple of carrots.” The villager said he had a couple of carrots and gave them to the man. Another villager passed by and asked what the other two were doing. Again, the response was they were making stone soup. The man said that the soup would be better though if they had a couple of potatoes. The second villager said he had some potatoes and gave them to the man making the stone soup.
One by one, more villagers came to inquire about the pot of stone soup and each villager had something small to add to the soup. Eventually, the man who had nothing but stones to eat, with the help of his fellow villagers, had a great pot of soup! All the village had a great pot of soup! Without knowing it, each villager had contributed out of curiosity and together, they all created something great for everyone!
When our churches were built, we had to have a parish in every community because we were so isolated. We had to go by boat to another community or walk miles and miles. Today, most people have at least one car and if you live in a city there are buses and taxis available. Very few people have no transportation these days. Even though the price of gas is expensive, no one thinks twice about going to another community or area to purchase groceries so why wouldn’t we travel to go to church?
We have so many churches that are almost empty because of declining attendance. What do you think would happen if we all came together to support one church in an area instead of trying to keep a church going in every community? In St. John’s we have more than five Anglican churches to try to keep running. Imagine if we pooled our resources and all went to one building! All those Anglicans together as a group, praising God and his Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ!
People in society are saying that the church is dying, but I disagree! The church isn’t dying: it’s just too spread out for the times. In Jesus’ time, people went to him, and he travelled around to speak to them. Our world has changed a lot since most of our churches were built, but we haven’t changed. People still have deep faith but maybe it’s time we made our own “soup” with churches to ensure the survival of our desire to worship together as a group of fellow Anglicans!
God bless you all!