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Fear and church attendance

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 7:20 am
by Dave Roberts
I am wondering how much of a negative effect on attendance and participation is caused by the fears of many in our society to be in large gatherings or even in church since houses of worship have become attack zones for mass murders who consider them soft targets. I am aware of folks who have withdrawn their children from public schools for the sole reason that public schools have been the target of so many shootings. I have also become aware of those who do not go to shop any longer than necessary. How do you think the climate of fear is affecting us, and what do you think it will do to the atmosphere of worship if we station armed guards on church premises?

Re: Fear and church attendance

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 7:38 pm
by Haruo
It's surely good for online retailers, including purveyors of "worship". I'm pickier about which large crowds I blend into, myself. Tonight I am probably not going to the Solidarity with the Pittsburgh Jewish Community events, though more because I think I might have to park a half hour's walk away than because of fear for my safety.

Re: Fear and church attendance

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:29 pm
by Sandy
I can't even imagine the thought of armed guards at the entrance to a church. There is so much that is wrong with that image on so many levels, it is hard to know where to start.

These incidents are just so random and sudden. The argument "if there'd just been someone with a gun..." doesn't really hold water. Many of these calculated killers are suicidal and planning to be taken out anyway. More than likely, they've considered that there might be a gun-toter in a crowd, so anyone who looks like they're reaching for a weapon would just make themselves the first target.

Re: Fear and church attendance

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:23 pm
by Tim Bonney
I attended a vigil at Tifereth Israel Synagogue last night. I was pleased that literally hundreds of people turned out from all faiths to support our Jewish neighbors. So many people came that not everyone could get in the building. It overflowed into the foyer, into their library and encircled their building. It made me proud people of faith in the Des Moines metro area last night!

There was also the presence of quite a few police officers making sure all was safe. And it made me think about how terrible it would be for all faith groups if we had to start having armed guards at church. As Dave has said, what a deterrent to church attendance!

Re: Fear and church attendance

PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:53 am
by Jon Estes
Good word from all.

I am reminded of how safe most of us are... even with the few crazies in the states who reminded us again that they are out there and are close.

Please know that in some cultures, such as areas of Cameroon, the people go to church knowing (not as much lately but in recent past) that evil like Boko Horam have no problem showing up and killing... yet the churches remain full. Many of these living testimonies will not let even the threat of death keep them from worshipping God with their church family.

Re: Fear and church attendance

PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:55 pm
by Tim Bonney
What evil men don't understand is that ""the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church." (Tertullian)

And I'll paraphrase that to say that the blood of martyrs is a seed to actions of the faithful of all faiths. I heard a lot of resolve last night in Des Moines to work harder yet to bring together differing communities of faith in fighting anti-semitism and all forms of hate. It was a resolve brought on by horror at what our nation could become if we don't make a difference.

Re: Fear and church attendance

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 12:06 am
by Jon Estes
Good word Timothy,

I am planning on being in the Pittsburgh next year. I plan to visit this church and one of the Messianic churches in the city while there.

FREE EXTRA THOUGHT... I am really struggling with thoughts of being involved in a church in the USA that isn't multi-cultural. Not a lot of those in the SBC these days. Sad... very sad.

Re: Fear and church attendance

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:16 am
by Tim Bonney
Jon Estes wrote:Good word Timothy,

I am planning on being in the Pittsburgh next year. I plan to visit this church and one of the Messianic churches in the city while there.

FREE EXTRA THOUGHT... I am really struggling with thoughts of being involved in a church in the USA that isn't multi-cultural. Not a lot of those in the SBC these days. Sad... very sad.


I honestly think the lack of ethnic diversity in US churches is one of the contributing factors to racism. We don't often know enough people from other ethnic backgrounds personally and so we have little understanding of their culture and lifestyle.

Unfortunately, the small town I pastor in is about 98% anglo. So it is pretty tough to even cultivate ethnic diversity. I love the town I'm pastoring in. But I miss the diversity Sioux City has.

Re: Fear and church attendance

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:50 pm
by Sandy
Jon Estes wrote:I am really struggling with thoughts of being involved in a church in the USA that isn't multi-cultural. Not a lot of those in the SBC these days. Sad... very sad


I think you might be surprised. You might have to get out of the Deep South to find them, but there really are some multi-cultural and many non-white ethnic congregations in the SBC. The last two SBC churches where I was a member were both multi-ethnic, and Caucasians were in the minority.

Re: Fear and church attendance

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:31 pm
by Haruo
Tim Bonney wrote:Unfortunately, the small town I pastor in is about 98% anglo.

The census-designated place we live in, Bryn Mawr-Skyway, Washington, is just about as polar an opposite to that as you can get. Quoting the Demographics section of our Wikipedia article, "The racial makeup of the area [in the 2010 census] was 29.6% White, 31.4% Black or African American, 27.1% Asian, 0.8% Pacific Islander, 0.8% Native American, 2.9% from other races, and 7.2% from two or more races; Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.7% of the population."

In contrast, the county as a whole is light-skinned (as befits snowflakes—we're also pretty Blue) : "The racial makeup of the county [again, in 2010] was 68.7% White (64.8% Non-Hispanic White), 6.2% African American, 14.6% Asian, 0.8% Pacific Islander, 0.8% Native American, 3.9% from other races, and 5.0% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 8.9% of the population"... My guess is that since 2010 the Hispanic percentage in both has increased, though not tremendously.

In 2012-16, the City of Seattle, which we're just outside of, and which is far and away the largest city in the county, was showing "65.7% Caucasian, 14.1% Asian, 7.0% of African origin, 0.4% Native American, 0.9% Pacific Islander, 0.2% other races, and 5.6% two or more races; 6.6% Hispanic or Latino of any race". Much closer to the county-as-a-whole figures than to Skyway.

In 2010 our state as a whole was "White: 77.3%, Black or African American: 3.6%, Asian: 7.2% (0.9% Asian Indian, 1.4% Chinese, 1.4% Filipino, 0.5% Japanese, 0.9% Korean, 1.0% Vietnamese, 1% other), Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0.6% (0.1% Native Hawaiian, 0.1% Guamanian, 0.2% Samoan, 0.2% other), American Indian and Alaska Native: 1.5%, Other race: 5.2%, Two or more races: 4.7%". Hispanic or Latino 4.8%. The intriguing (to me as a former BRFSS data-collector) item is the much higher "Other race" figure for the state as a whole than for any of the other three data sets cited.

Re: Fear and church attendance

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:35 pm
by Tim Bonney
Sioux City is about 23% Latino and nearly 10% Native American. Indianola is a very nice place, but I miss the diversity.

Re: Fear and church attendance

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:45 pm
by Sandy
According to the same source Haruo is using there, Wikipedia, the Chicago neighborhood where I now live is 32% white, non latino, 21% Latino, 18% Asian, 10% African American, 5% Pacific Islander. But it doesn't distinguish the fact that among the non-latino whites there are Polish, Romanians, Russians, Hungarians and Bulgarians. There is an SBC congregation in the area that has services in Polish, Russian and Bulgarian.

Re: Fear and church attendance

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:17 am
by Dave Roberts
In the 1980's. I pastored a church in Fayetteville, NC that was predominantly Anglo but also had African-American and Hispanic members. The catch was that this is a military town, and race isn't nearly as important in that context. The church could learn a lot from the military on this.

Re: Fear and church attendance

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:44 am
by Haruo
Sandy wrote:There is an SBC congregation in the area that has services in Polish, Russian and Bulgarian.

First time I've ever been able to identify a compelling reason to attend a Southern Baptist Church that was more than just my general tendency to want to go to all kinds of churches. You know this church will rank high on my list of where to go next time I'm in Chicago on a Sunday! Are their worship hours staggered so I could hit all three in a single Sunday?

Re: Fear and church attendance

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:44 am
by Sandy
Haruo wrote:
Sandy wrote:There is an SBC congregation in the area that has services in Polish, Russian and Bulgarian.

First time I've ever been able to identify a compelling reason to attend a Southern Baptist Church that was more than just my general tendency to want to go to all kinds of churches. You know this church will rank high on my list of where to go next time I'm in Chicago on a Sunday! Are their worship hours staggered so I could hit all three in a single Sunday?


I'm not sure, it's three congregations sharing a building that none of them actually owns, and I think there are two services at the same time in the morning and the third one is in the afternoon.

Re: Fear and church attendance

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:49 am
by Tim Bonney
Sandy wrote:
I'm not sure, it's three congregations sharing a building that none of them actually owns, and I think there are two services at the same time in the morning and the third one is in the afternoon.


When I think about how many church buildings in town being underutilized, sharing a building sounds smart.

Re: Fear and church attendance

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:23 pm
by Sandy
Haruo wrote:
Sandy wrote:There is an SBC congregation in the area that has services in Polish, Russian and Bulgarian.

First time I've ever been able to identify a compelling reason to attend a Southern Baptist Church that was more than just my general tendency to want to go to all kinds of churches. You know this church will rank high on my list of where to go next time I'm in Chicago on a Sunday! Are their worship hours staggered so I could hit all three in a single Sunday?


Let me know when you come. We'll do lunch or something.

Re: Fear and church attendance

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:20 pm
by Haruo
Will do, if and when (Chicago's not a usual destination for me, though it's likely I might go through on the way to or from Montreal in 2020. Hoping to do that trip by camper van or SUV or something. What's the name of the church? Pretty sure I've never been to a service in Polish or Bulgarian.

Re: Fear and church attendance

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:42 pm
by Sandy
Haruo wrote:Will do, if and when (Chicago's not a usual destination for me, though it's likely I might go through on the way to or from Montreal in 2020. Hoping to do that trip by camper van or SUV or something. What's the name of the church? Pretty sure I've never been to a service in Polish or Bulgarian.


I believe the Bulgarian church uses the name "Bulgarian Baptist Church." The Polish congregation has a sign that is in Polish which I can't read.