More Thoughts On Why It’s So Hard To Go To Church

I didn’t make it this weekend. I came home on Saturday and fell asleep on the couch. Same on Sunday. Retail + office work + opening/closing = one sleepy camper.Almost makes me wish for those five months where I was wholly unemployed.

No, wait, it really doesn’t.

Pisco, to answer your question: the local Lutherans don’t have late services, either. Matter of fact, the only churches that have later services, or easily accessible to the working person weekday services are– the Pentecostals.

The history of Christianity out here in the American West is often one of worshipping in your own living room, seeing the pastor or priest maybe once every few weeks/months in your church. That’s one of the reasons, I think, that revivals and tent meetings became such a big part of our culture. I also think it’s one of the reasons that the midwest and the west coast of the US are some of the strongholds of ‘nondenominational’ Protestantisim. It’s a lot easier to point to people and say, “You’re now a pastor, go start a church” than it is to convene Discernment Committees in smaller, more spread out communities.

The thing is, I live in a major city. Like, smack in the middle of a major city, we have the population density to maintain multiple Episcopal parishes. And yet, our parishes are mostly shrinking. And the response by vestries to shrinking parishes? Cut back on services, restrict times when the parish is open so that someone seeking sanctuary is most often met by locked and barred doors.

We are Anglicans. The cornerstone of our worship is the Holy Eucharist.

Cornerstones are nice things to have. They lay out the directions to build in, they keep everything square and level. But you don’t just lay the cornerstone and say, “Ok, we’re done, building’s finished!” and go home. Your next step is to lay the foundation.

The foundation of our worship as Episcopalians, as Anglicans, the stuff for the rest of the week, is the Daily Office. Morning and Evening Prayer. Which is so rarely celebrated in our cathedrals, let alone our parishes.


You don’t need a priest to have MP or EP celebrated in a parish. You just need someone to stand up and say, “Please turn in your BCP to page 155.”



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5 responses to “More Thoughts On Why It’s So Hard To Go To Church

  1. Are you thinking of starting an off-hours office for the chronically over-employed?

  2. Part of the success of the Emergent Church is meeting as a group at various times, and MP & EP are ideal for this purpose.

    My Parish only offers them during Lent.

  3. Anna

    St Michael & All Angels in PDX (NE 42nd & Broadway) is doing Evening Prayer Mon-Fri and Morning Prayer on Saturdays at 8 am (I think). Maybe one of these would work for you?

  4. Ya know, I think it would be a wonderful idea to make MP and EP (and noon and compline) more accessible as well. I mean, devout Jews pray twice a day. Okay, they shove afternoon and evening prayer together so they become one service, but even so.

    And there are about as many Episcopalians as there are Jews, right? Why don’t we start having minyans then? It’s weird, the more I think about it.

  5. Pingback: ePiscoSours » Blog Archive » The Episcopal Minyan