Anglicans Online banner More about the gryphon
Independent On the web since 1994 More than 250,000 readers More than 30,000 links Updated every Sunday
Will you help support
Anglicans Online?

The Paypal logotype

Noted This Week
Sites new to AO

News Centre
News archive

News flash: a summary of the top headlines
Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us by email
Be notified each week

Start here
Anglicans believe...
The Prayer Book
The Bible

Read letters to AO
Write to us

Resources A to Z

World Anglicanism
Anglican Communion
In full communion
Not in the Communion

Dioceses and Parishes
Hong Kong
New Zealand

South Africa
Sri Lanka

Vacancies Centre
List a vacancy
Check openings worldwide

Add a site or link to AO
Add a site to AO
Link to AO

About Anglicans Online
Back issues
About our logo
Our search engine


Hallo again to all.

We woke this morning at sunrise in a simple hotel room in a gritty little industrial town near the sea, several time zones away from home. This town has survived for centuries by making seafaring gear, including ships. There is a nautical museum noting the construction here a century ago of the second largest wooden ship ever built. We came to this town on personal business, but today is Sunday and that meant finding a church. We've been to this town before, are somewhat familiar with the Anglican churches nearby, and decided to return today to a town-center parish we'd attended a few times in past years and past travels.

Every town has a mixture of people, in this town there are many more welders and ironworkers and whitesmiths than office workers or attorneys. While we waited for our turn at the communion rail, we couldn't help but notice the ragtag collection of shoes exposed as people kneeled. Money clearly went for some purpose more important than shoes.

When we attend churches far from home, we try to spend some time at the coffee hour afterwards to talk and listen. We waited for the end of the expertly-played organ postlude and then blended into the crowd for a walk to the parish hall for coffee and chat. We heard talk of the food bank, which would be open for distribution on Tuesday evening. We gathered many larders were empty. Of whether there would be a day-shift job opening at the big factory. Of how pretty the stained glass looked today in the morning light. Of what a good job Donna did today playing the organ and how lovely was the anthem duet. Of who would be going to Thursday's community supper and whether rides could be shared.

We stayed quite a while, mostly just listening. We got the sense that attending church was the high point of the week for many of these families. There had obviously not been any 'Should I go to church today or should I play golf or should I stay home and watch television?' Church was for them not just an opportunity for worship, it was an opportunity to bask in physical and auditory beauty transcending poorly-maintained apartments and MP3 players with ear buds. Of course you go to church, because it's Sunday. Church is a window into God's kingdom.

Our own parish is so different. Its membership includes many engineers and professionals. They have money, and they even give a reasonable amount of it to the church. Our parish's pipe organ not long ago got a new rank of trompettes en chamade. The car park is regularly re-paved, and the church building well maintained. But so often these otherwise-generous people skip church. They give of their treasure but not their time. What are they thinking? Are their lives so fulfilled they can get all they need by going to church every third week? Certainly a few of them, like us, are traveling, but that can't account for everyone.

This church attendance dilemma seems to be a temporal version of the widow's mite. Those who have the least are often the ones who attend most faithfully. If we were to buttonhole someone in our parish next week and ask 'I noticed you only attend church sporadically; what's the story?' it would be considered impossibly rude. So we'll ask you instead. If you have any insight into people whose church attendance is not regular (or if you are one of them) perhaps you could write a Letter to the Editor and talk about it?

See you next week.

Our signature
All of us at Anglicans Online

1 February 2015

A thin blue line
This web site is independent. It is not official in any way. Our editorial staff is private and unaffiliated. Please contact about information on this page. ©2015 Society of Archbishop Justus
. Please address all spam to