She’s Gone B’ys

The St. Lawrence Thrift Store
The Rev'd Bob Eearle

I want to share some statements that I often hear about the Church. Perhaps you, too, have listened to something similar?

”The Church is not what it used to be.”

“There’s no one going to Church like they used to.”

”The Church is dying.”

Sound familiar? And it is hard to argue against the truth in each sentiment. Indeed, as a Bishop, I agree that the Church is not what it was, and that fewer people belong to the church community. Some church buildings have closed, and others will end in the future. As the population ages, particular churches will be “last generation” communities with no younger people left.

As the old Newfoundland expression goes, when it comes to the Church, it looks like “She’s gone b’ys, she’s gone!”

The Church, like any other institution, has seen changes over the years. While some may argue that the Church is dying, it may be more appropriate to say that it is evolving. In the teachings of Jesus, there is a consistent theme of new life and resurrection, which can be applied to the current state of the Church.

Jesus spoke about the concept of new life and resurrection to emphasize the idea of transformation and growth. This idea can be seen in how the Church has adapted to modern times. While some traditional practices may be fading away, new ways of connecting with people and spreading the message of love and compassion are emerging.

One such way the Church is connecting with people and living the example of Christ’s love is the Thrift Store in the Parish of St. Lawrence, Portugal Cove. The leadership of the parish looked at ways that the Church could reach out and serve the community as both human and financial resources were declining.

The St. Lawrence Thrift Store was created to raise funds for large-scale outreach projects. It supports both the parish and the community. Up to 50% of all funds raised go to the general fund. The store raises the church’s profile as an active community partner. The community benefits from a local place to send items, a scholarship, and a new place to shop every Saturday. The parish food bank has also benefited, as the parish can maintain necessary inventory levels to serve those in need. Income from the thrift store has given the parish the luxury to explore new initiatives for the community.

Instead of focusing on the decline of certain aspects of the Church, it may be more helpful to shift the perspective toward the opportunities for renewal and revival. Just as Jesus brought new life to those he encountered, the Church has the potential to rejuvenate itself by embracing change and innovation. This is what the church in St. Lawrence, Portugal Cove, has done and so many other churches are exploring similar ways.

While some parts of being the Church will end, we know, as Christians, that our faith is built on the foundation of the resurrection. Ultimately, the teachings of Jesus remind us that death is not the end but rather a transition to new beginnings. The Church, too, can experience a resurrection of sorts by staying true to its core values while adapting to the needs of a changing world. As long as the message of love, hope, and redemption remains at the centre, the Church will continue to have a meaningful impact on the lives of believers.

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