I have often said on this blog that maybe we should give up our stained glass churches and move them to strip malls, abandoned buildings, or other less costly surroundings. For many churches today paying the mortgage and utilities is a the second biggest drain on a small congregation (the biggest drain is usually the pastor’s salary). That is why there is some validity to the claim that churches are more like clubhouses than anything else. Many spend the vast majority of their money on themselves.
For small churches, and most churches are small, these two areas of expense take up the lion’s share of congregational giving. There is usually very little money left for any other activity. If we could somehow reduce those major expenses we could get back to practicing “hospitality” as they did in the early Christian church. Hospitality basically meant “being your brother’s keeper” to the early Christians.
This article in Sojourner November issue is about Rev. Deborah Little who is doing just that. She should be an example to all of us Christians in how to “be” a Christian instead of a litany of proclaimed “beliefs”.
Source: Sojourners November 1012 —Word on the Street by Charles Howard
This is Common Cathedral, an outdoor “street church”. Each Sunday at 1 p.m., in sunshine, rain, or snow people gather, 50 to 100 strong, next to Brewer Fountain on Boston Common. There, they witness love in a church without walls….
Reverend Little had a very unique history in fulfilling her calling. Here are the words from the above article relaying her story:
“the living bread appeared to me as a homeless woman. She was sitting on the steps of my apartment building. In an instant, I knew I was to make my home with her and others who lived on the streets”. It took Little around six years to answer that call, but finally she quit her job as the director of communications for Harvard Law School, went to the seminary, and got ordained. “I did this so I could take the church outdoors to the people who cannot or are not welcome to come inside”….
Over time Common Cathedral has grown from just a weekly service to a broad-reaching ministry with Bible studies, an arts program, a film screen program, legal and medical counsel, a hospital visitation program and more.
It is hard for any of us to imagine giving up a lucrative job at Harvard Law School to go to the seminary and eventually making your life calling making a church without walls for the homeless! Wow!! If her example is not an inspiration for all of us I don’t think anything could be.
It turns out that the Common Cathedral was an inspiration for others. In fact there are several other outdoor churches in major cities in the U.S. and the world. Rev. Little’s simple idea grew beyond expectations. That is usually what happens when you get God’s attention 🙂 .
I am so glad to celebrate this success story.