Saturday, March 24, 2012

Losing their religion

Church-going folks in rural Manitoba struggle with the 21st-century reality that faith and hope will no longer keep their aged sanctuaries and aging congregations alive
There are three people in the congregation, nestled in the wooden pews of a 107-year-old church that doesn't have a prayer.

Outside St. Michael and All Angels Anglican church, storm winds are howling.

Inside, the sparse gathering is gamely attempting to sing Amazing Grace. But there is a problem. The laptop computer program blaring the organ music is lagging a little.

The real organ, now covered in a flowery quilt, fell silent last November. The suspected culprits, not unlike the God to which the few have gathered to sing their praises, are everywhere. Yet invisible.

"It died on us in November," Teresa May said in mid-February. "I have a feeling the mice got into it."

May is the secretary treasurer of a church that has no income. She is a Mennonite who has been attending St. Michaels for a dozen or so years, along with husband, Morley. Also in attendance is Debbie Dionne, who first sat in these pews some 50 years ago and later taught Sunday school when up to 40 children were weaned on the Bible's teachings.

These days, there are no children to be found. On a good day, up to eight residents of the small southwestern Manitoba community will attend a Sunday service.

But this is not a good day. Keep reading

No comments: