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Churches, Work Harder or...

John W. Pinkerton


Years ago when I first started working and living in Somerville, I looked around and noticed there were a lot of churches in the 'ville.  Most were modest affairs.

Being a fellow who wanted to make the world a better place, I thought, “If these various churches would join in a unified effort, they could raise enough money to build a single church to be shared by all of the denominations which would outshine their individual efforts.”

Silly me.  I was young and idealistic.  Please forgive me.

Over the years---over fifty in Somerville---I've noticed that church attendance in our local churches has declined…radically.

My block once housed two churches, a Presbyterian and a Southern Baptist.  A few years back, the Southern Baptist, probably the largest congregation other than the Catholics, had a fine building program which resulted in a nice church, activities building, and parking area.  As a school person, I quickly learned not to plan any school activities on Wednesday evenings---that was the night the Baptists met, and it rivaled their Sunday meetings.

The Presbyterian church, a tiny but charming building adjacent to the Baptist church, has been removed…I'm not sure what became of it.  It's disappearance was undoubtedly the results of Doctor and Mrs. Pazdral's deaths.  He and his wife may have been the only local Presbyterians.

As the years passed, I realized that my plan of a single local church structure for all denominations was totally impractical.  It was a grand thought, but folks would be involved, and we all know how folks are---it would create more problems than it would solve.

I don't belong to or regularly attend any of our churches---just the occasional wedding, funeral, or baptism.  However, I'm very supportive of our churches: they promote a healthy framework for our society of which it is currently in great need.

A single structure for all denominations would not solve the current decline in attendance or membership, and I  don't have a magic solution for the churches other than working harder at increasing membership and attendance.

I find that work---hard work---is the answer to most problems and usually the only practical answer…not a single church structure for all denominations.