More Christians Should Vote NDP

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autoworker autoworker's picture

It matters because it emerged from six years spent at Brandon College, immersed in the the study of the Social Gospel, which some have advocated a return to. History provides an ample number of social engineering projects that have proved themselves onerous in their outcomes, while their intentions were regarded as progressive at the time. I'm not portraying Douglas as having been tainted by evil. But, he was a man of his time, when too much faith was misplaced in science as the font of Progress. Fortunately, he abandoned eugenics. A lesser man, with a professional reputation at stake, might have succumbed to the temptation to uphold its seriously flawed claims. It takes character to discover, and correct the error of one's thinking, especially when it diverges from a gathering ideological consensus supported by both academe, and the wealthy foundations that funded its research. Following his conscience actually raises Douglas in my own estimation of him. 'Hate the sin, love the sinner', as he might have intoned. Enough said.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

It's also a stretch to argue that the brief flirtation that some adherents of the Social Gospel may have had with eugenics somehow totally discredits the Social Gospel itself.  Those who embraced that concept were generally among the most outspoken opponents of any form of bigotry in their times.

Are you really arguing that the Social Gospel itself is evil?

As a person who appears(to most people here)to be a sometime supporter of the Liberal Party, you should be aware that it was the Liberal government, during World War II AND for years thereafter, barred most Jewish refugees from entering Canada.  We can assume that most of those who were turned away ended up being killed by the Nazis.  Therefore, the Liberal Party of Canada is effectively complicit in Hitler's crimes.

How is Tommy's brief(and, as it turned out, irrelevant in terms of his actual actions in life)theoretical consideration of eugenics worse than THAT?

Clearly, if it had been left solely to the Liberals, Canada would never have had any social welfare system to speak of and no social conscience whatsoever.  Most Liberal supporters, prior to the Pearson era, never gave a damn about the poor and the workers.

And it goes without saying that no revival of the Social Gospel today would ever involve any support for eugenics.  The very idea of eugenics is intellectually extinct and nothing is going to revive it, other than on the corporate Right.  

 

6079_Smith_W

No kidding it's a stretch.

Funny how when we are talking about good things that are done by religious people the line is that they would have done them anyway without their superstition.

But when someone doesn't tip enough at a restaurant or forgets to cut their lawn, it's obviously the fault of their religious programming.

 

Fact is, eugenics was first proposed by Francis Galton, who got the bright idea after reading his cousin Charles Darwin's work The Origin of Species.

One of the other things Galton studied was the power of prayer; he concluded that it had no effect whatsoever.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics

 

 

autoworker autoworker's picture

I don't think it's a stretch to suggest that Douglas was interested in eugenics, while immersed in divinity studies at an institution affiliated with the university that granted his graduate degree, on the application of what was regarded, at the time, as scientific. That's more than a flirtation, I believe. That said, I don't see how it relates to the tragic saga of the St, Louis, and the lamentable demise of her passengers. Their memory remains as Canada's shame. As for speculation about perceived Liberal affiliations, a better analogy is Pierre Trudeau's own youthful dalliance with fascist ideas.

autoworker autoworker's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:

No kidding it's a stretch.

Funny how when we are talking about good things that are done by religious people the line is that they would have done them anyway without their superstition.

But when someone doesn't tip enough at a restaurant or forgets to cut their lawn, it's obviously the fault of their religious programming.

 

Fact is, eugenics was first proposed by Francis Galton, who got the bright idea after reading his cousin Charles Darwin's work The Origin of Species.

One of the other things Galton studied was the power of prayer; he concluded that it had no effect whatsoever.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics

 

 

Indeed, many progressive evangelicals eschewed Darwin's theory, because it was used to rationalize inequality as natural science.

autoworker autoworker's picture
autoworker autoworker's picture

double post

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

autoworker wrote:

Indeed, many progressive evangelicals eschewed Darwin's theory, because it was used to rationalize inequality as natural science.

Darwin's theories have been misrepresented since he first published his findings. Huxley is often seen as a proponent of Darwin. However it was his writings and not Darwin's that skewed Darwin's theories towards the survival of the fittest ideology.  As one might expect I believe the best work that build on Darwin's work was, "Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution."

Quote:

Another important evolutionary theorist of the same period was Peter Kropotkin who, in his book Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, advocated a conception of Darwinism counter to that of Huxley. His conception was centred around what he saw as the widespread use of co-operation as a survival mechanism in human societies and animals. He used biological and sociological arguments in an attempt to show that the main factor in facilitating evolution is cooperation between individuals in free-associated societies and groups. This was in order to counteract the conception of fierce competition as the core of evolution, which provided a rationalisation for the dominant political, economic and social theories of the time; and the prevalent interpretations of Darwinism, such as those by Huxley, who is targeted as an opponent by Kropotkin. Kropotkin's conception of Darwinism could be summed up by the following quote:

In the animal world we have seen that the vast majority of species live in societies, and that they find in association the best arms for the struggle for life: understood, of course, in its wide Darwinian sense – not as a struggle for the sheer means of existence, but as a struggle against all natural conditions unfavourable to the species. The animal species, in which individual struggle has been reduced to its narrowest limits, and the practice of mutual aid has attained the greatest development, are invariably the most numerous, the most prosperous, and the most open to further progress. The mutual protection which is obtained in this case, the possibility of attaining old age and of accumulating experience, the higher intellectual development, and the further growth of sociable habits, secure the maintenance of the species, its extension, and its further progressive evolution. The unsociable species, on the contrary, are doomed to decay.

— Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (1902), Conclusion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwinism

6079_Smith_W

The fact remains autoworker, what you are engaging in is both revisionism and making stuff up.

As I said, according to the Dawkins school of thought if a religious person picks his nose in public it's because they taught him that in Sunday school.

You want to jump on something, maybe pick on something he did after he got out of school, and something in the last 50 years, like considering homosexuality a sickness. Never mind that he used that argument to oppose criminalization, and never mind that, as with eugenics, it is was a common false belief held by the medical establishment and a good many non-religious people at the time.

Same thing here. Never mind that eugenics was built on a medical and public policy foundation; let's lay all the blame squarely at the foot of religion.

One thing he did say about his religious inspiration:

Quote:

"Oh you always start with a text. But the bible is like a bull fiddle, you can play almost any tune you want on it. My background, being interested in social and economic questions, naturally inclined me to preching the idea that religion in essence was entering into a new relationship with God and into a new relationship with the universe. And into a new relationship with your fellow man. And if that Christianity meant anything at all, it meant building the brotherhood of man. If you really believed in the fatherhood of God, if you believed what Jesus said - that we live in a friendly universe - then the brotherhood of man was a corollary to it. And that meant a helpful relationship between man and man, building a society and building institutions that would uplift mankind, and particularly those who were the least fortunate, and this was pretty well the sort of message I was trying to get across."

Source - "Tommy Douglas" by Doris French Shackleton

 

autoworker autoworker's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:

The fact remains autoworker, what you are engaging in is both revisionism and making stuff up.

As I said, according to the Dawkins school of thought if a religious person picks his nose in public it's because they taught him that in Sunday school.

You want to jump on something, maybe pick on something he did after he got out of school, and something in the last 50 years, like considering homosexuality a sickness. Never mind that he used that argument to oppose criminalization, and never mind that, as with eugenics, it is was a common false belief held by the medical establishment and a good many non-religious people at the time.

Same thing here. Never mind that eugenics was built on a medical and public policy foundation; let's lay all the blame squarely at the foot of religion.

One thing he did say about his religious inspiration:

Quote:

"Oh you always start with a text. But the bible is like a bull fiddle, you can play almost any tune you want on it. My background, being interested in social and economic questions, naturally inclined me to preching the idea that religion in essence was entering into a new relationship with God and into a new relationship with the universe. And into a new relationship with your fellow man. And if that Christianity meant anything at all, it meant building the brotherhood oman. If you really believed in the fatherhood of God, if you believed what Jesus said -that we live in a friendly universe - then the brotherhood of man was a corollary to it. And that meant a helpful relationship between man and man, building a society and building institutions that would uplift mankind, and particularly those who were the least fortunate, and this was pretty well the sort of message I was trying to get across."

Source - "Tommy Douglas" by Doris French
Shackleton

 

What have I made up? Please provide examples of my alleged fabrications.

6079_Smith_W

Your implication is that Douglas's paper on eugenics somehow had something to do with his religion - the social gospel, as you say. Do I have that right? 

Never mind that it was an academic paper, and something which Douglas in fact rejected when he was in power.  I'd say it is no more true than Richard Nixon's decision to bomb Cambodia was an example of Quaker doctrine, or Vic Toews actions in government are in line with his Mennonite faith.

Sure there were people in his day who thought eugenics was a good idea, but not all of them were religious, and it was not a religious proposal, but a scientific one.

In short, your association is without any foundation at all.

 

 

 

autoworker autoworker's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Your implication is that Douglas's paper on eugenics somehow had something to do with his religion - the social gospel, as you say. Do I have that right? 

Never mind that it was an academic paper, and something which Douglas in fact rejected when he was in power.  I'd say it is no more true than Richard Nixon's decision to bomb Cambodia was an example of Quaker doctrine, or Vic Toews actions in government are in line with his Mennonite faith.

Sure there were people in his day who thought eugenics was a good idea, but not all of them were religious, and it was not a religious proposal, but a scientific one.

In short, your association is without any foundation at all.

 

 

 

Do you believe that a woman's "morality" is a valid theory of applied science? It sounds rather preachy to me.

6079_Smith_W

I don't think eugenics as promoted in the early part of the 20th century is a valid theory of applied science at all -  because it was highly unethical, discriminatory,and based on false assumptions. If you are saying that because it was presented as a utopian vision that it is preachy and therefore religious, I'm sorry, but that is not a good enough connection.

There are plenty of scientific discoveries that were presented as utopian solutions in just as preachy a fashion as this, and they don't have anything to do with religion either.

Were there some religious people and quasi-religious groups that promoted eugenics? Yes, the notable one being the Womens Christian Temperance Union, since you mention women's morality. They also supported women's suffrage, unionizing workplaces, and temperance. 

And I think Margaret Sanger was already mentioned.

Of the  major promoters of eugenics the only overtly religious person I recongize was John Harvey Kellog, who used Seventh-Day Adventist principles in his sanatorium. Aside from that, plenty of scientists, philanthropists, as well as progressive thinkers, and promoters of women's rights and birth control.

Not surprisingly, the writer and Catholic theologian GK Chesterton  was among its critics.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Eugenics_Conference

 

autoworker autoworker's picture

I don't think they saw their efforts as utopian. I'm interested more in how they thought about the social imperatives of the time, and the 1920s and 30s, generally. Christians faced with seemingly intractable conditions, sought modern solutions to age-old problems, with an evangelical zeal of committed activists. There's nothing wrong about their intentions, even if their methodology was flawed. Hopefully, ours has improved.

autoworker autoworker's picture

@kropotkin1951: I ordered "Mutual Aid" -- 1902 seems like it might have been a very good year.

ygtbk

Mutual Aid is a good book, and I have no problem with the ethical message, but the evolutionary ideas might be taken with a grain of salt.

It's not obvious to me that the author understood that bees and ants have a genetic system (haplodiploidy) that differs from us primates.

Much as Dawkins appears to be oblivious to how obnoxious he can seem, he's probably a better source (if only because post-Mendel) on genetics and evolution.

6079_Smith_W

You can go on believing it was a Christian plot if you wish, autoworker. And as I said above, some church figures supported it, in particular some Methodists and Presbyterians and it played into many people's racism and discrimination (and some, notably the Catholics, opposed it).

But that doesn't account for the many non-religious people who also saw it as a good thing, and if you look at those associated with it, it is far more closely linked with progressive social reform and women's rights, and those who saw science as a means of social engineering.

In Alberta, Bill Aberhardt may have kept it in place, but it was the progressive United Farmers of Alberta Party which implemented it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberta_Eugenics_Board

@ ygtbk

I don't think anyone understood ploidity until the discovery of DNA, 50 years ago this past February. I assume moss researchers must have been scratching their heads over its life cycle before we had that information.

 

greatwhite

knownothing wrote:

Caissa wrote:

Some members of the Christian left and Social Gospel are on Babble.

 

I would sure like it if one of them would help me understand this contradiction between voting Conservative and being Christian.

 

Are any of us Christians when we don't follow Christ's teaching that we should turn the other cheek to offenses against us. We need to read Christ's words again and follow them if we are to consider ouselves Christians. Just attending one of the churches that call themselves Christian  doesn't make us Christian. Following Christ's teaching does, but we don't do it except when it is convenient for us.

Turning the other cheek is just one of the things we don't heed Christ on. Read the gospels again and see what how you are failing as a Christian.

 

autoworker autoworker's picture

@smith: I never said nor implied that eugenics was a Christian plot. Stop misrepresenting my posts.

6079_Smith_W

I'm glad you didn't, and sorry if I misunderstood your intention in this comment:

autoworker wrote:

It matters because it emerged from six years spent at Brandon College, immersed in the the study of the Social Gospel, which some have advocated a return to.

I took it as an inference that a return to the values of the Social Gospel (which I'd say are very much still with us in progressive religious movements, and in the NDP) could lead to a revival of eugenics or something similar in the future.

While I believe that eugenics was in part promoted by progressive thinkers, I don't think the religious aspect, or the social gospel movement was all that central to it.

autoworker autoworker's picture

The Social Gospel was never central to eugenics, but, what has proved to be psudo-science, was once regarded as an academically progressive method for addressing the onerous social conditions of the Great Depression, given the mores of the time. As I said: I'm more concerned with how people thought, back then. Perhaps many Christians eschew social democracy, because they have lost faith in social science.

6079_Smith_W

Well that's the thing; I don't think those who are progressive have abandoned anything. In the case of Tommy Douglas, obviously eugenics was just an academic exercise, or he thought better of it. In any case, he went on to better things and certainly did not abandon social democracy.

And I'd say the vast majority of progressive religious work has nothing to do with social engineering, and never did.

Goggles Pissano

A major part of Tommy Douglas's social gospel when he became premier was to fund research into eliminating alcoholism and mental illness. He was the MLA for Weyburn, and Weyburn was home to the Weyburn mental institution. He wanted to see people healthy and well and out of institutions and not destitute on the streets.  This is the most overlooked and misunderstood accomplishment in his social gospel.  Erika Dyck wrote a book called, Psychadelic Psychiatry, where she documents the history and misunderstandings of this research.

It was the Alberta government and their social gospel at the time which forcefully sterilized first nations women and women in mental institutions.

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

I am a Protestant social democrat. According to my reading of the Bible, idolatry is wrong, which is why I am so opposed to the Cult of Justin Trudeau.

Pondering

I think oligarchs deliberately targeted religious people through abortion, gay rights, the attack on Christmas, etc. to gain the support of Christians whipping up as much anger and resentment as possible to create a war between traditionalists and progressives.

Even before the Pope's words on putting less stress on abortion and gay rights and more on economic injustice Christian congregations have been turning away from the heated retoric and recognizing that being a Christian goes far beyond those two issues.

 

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

I value my civil liberties which is why I'm not a follower of Dear Leader and his feeble minded minions.

6079_Smith_W
quizzical

hmmm....mom has always maintained true "christians" (though she doesn't believe there can even be such a designation) wouldn't vote Conservative. given the religiousities of the extended family i didn't believe her.

Aristotleded24

[url=http://commondreams.org/news/2015/09/14/bible-belt-sanders-seeks-common-... confronts social, economic issues head on in Bible Belt communities:[/url]

Quote:
Avowed democratic socialist and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders on Monday gave a rousing lesson in morality to thousands of students at the conservative Christian college Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Following an introduction by university president Jerry Falwell Jr., whose father founded the school in 1971, Sen. Sanders immediately acknowledged two broad areas in which his and the student body's views were likely to diverge: "the right of a woman to control her own body" and "gay rights and gay marriage."

With that out of the way, the progressive senator from Vermont then launched into a speech in which he sought common ground with the religious right over issues "of enormous consequence to our country, and in fact, the entire world."

As students of Christian faith, the people in attendance regularly "try to understand the meaning of morality... and try to understand, in this very complicated modern world, what we the words of the Bible means in today's society," he said.

Quoting the Bible—Matthew 7:12 and Amos 5:24—he continued, "in my view, it would be hard for anyone in this room today to make the case that the United States of America... [is] a just society, or anything resembling a just society."

montgomery

Reality/Politics should be kept separate from people's religious beliefs. It's still to early to start laying it on the line and alienating the 20% or so. We must be tolerant and inclusive. Earth was 'created' sort of between 6000 years ago and 4.453 billion years ago, give or take a few thousand. The 3 represents a mere million.

bongo

As a contractor, I have worked in 2 baptist churches, and provided services to some of the parishiners. Without a single exception, conversations I have had with these 'christians' have started with derogatory comments about gays, immigrants or socialism. Since I used to be a christian, have always been a voratious reader, and kindly but firmly argue for true compassion and love, the pastor, and associate pastor avoided me like the plague. They frequently use the old testament to justify their hateful opinions regarding gays in particular, as well as immigration and socialism. I point out that the old testament is "just a shadow of the New Covenant" offered by God to christians through Christ (words attributed to Jesus himself) and that the Old Covenant has been done away with. Therefore the old testament's laws must be ignored, and salvation is to be had through Christs love and sacrifice.

Modern 'christians' insult Christ's sacrifice by ignoring it in favour of old testament law snippets - an eye for an eye, the 10 commandments. They skip the annual sacrifice of lambs on the altar, and the many other sacrifices and laws outlined in the old testament. So what are they? They cannot be christians because they ignore new testament law. They cannot be jewish procylites because they dont follow the old testament laws fully either (much of which is contained in the Jewish Talmud).

Jesus said that "it is more likely that a camel will pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man enter the kingdom of heaven".

They must be nothing spiritual at all then. They must be a herd of sheeple, following the ramblings of false prophets.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

As more people, especially younger people, walk away from the more moderate denominations - especially mainline prostestant churches and catholic churches in Europe and North America, and as more of the older adherents die off, you'll see less and less of the christian left. Even within the mainline protestant churches, you're seeing a slow shift to the right as young people just stop showing up.

One of the few congregations that's been growing in the United Church of Canada is West Hill United in Scarborough. The pastor's an out atheist and their services have been retooled to include secular people in their community. Pretty interesting bunch. But a bit of an anomaly.

Those who a generation or two ago would have made up the christian left are secular now.

swallow swallow's picture

Sadly that is probably true in Canada. May be a different story in “ethnic” congregations though, which still have good numbers.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Why (and how) is this thread "sticky"?

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

swallow wrote:

Sadly that is probably true in Canada. May be a different story in “ethnic” congregations though, which still have good numbers.

With immigrants especially. But if you get to the second generation, you see a big drop off.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The Catholic Church in Canada is very much an immigrant crowd. Its English churches in Ontario, when I was growing up used to be full of Italian immigrants, now it is Filipinos and people from the Caribbean who make up the majority of many congregations.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Yup, you see it with some protestant congregations, too, but not the same kind of numbers so they're fading out faster. You'll see the same kind of generational fade-out as well - the first generation have more church-goers, second and third generations not so much.

Misfit Misfit's picture

Rural towns are facing a crisis. Attendance is so low that rural churches are struggling to pay their bills. Some are shitting down. All the mainstream churches in our town are struggling. Even the Roman Catholic Church.

Aristotleded24

bongo wrote:
As a contractor, I have worked in 2 baptist churches, and provided services to some of the parishiners. Without a single exception, conversations I have had with these 'christians' have started with derogatory comments about gays, immigrants or socialism. Since I used to be a christian, have always been a voratious reader, and kindly but firmly argue for true compassion and love, the pastor, and associate pastor avoided me like the plague. They frequently use the old testament to justify their hateful opinions regarding gays in particular, as well as immigration and socialism. I point out that the old testament is "just a shadow of the New Covenant" offered by God to christians through Christ (words attributed to Jesus himself) and that the Old Covenant has been done away with. Therefore the old testament's laws must be ignored, and salvation is to be had through Christs love and sacrifice.

Modern 'christians' insult Christ's sacrifice by ignoring it in favour of old testament law snippets - an eye for an eye, the 10 commandments. They skip the annual sacrifice of lambs on the altar, and the many other sacrifices and laws outlined in the old testament. So what are they? They cannot be christians because they ignore new testament law. They cannot be jewish procylites because they dont follow the old testament laws fully either (much of which is contained in the Jewish Talmud).

There's a bit more to it than that. The underlying theme is that after the Jewish people escaped slavery in Egypt (yes I know there's going to be a ton of posts questioning the historicity of this account, but for the sake of the argument I'm about to make I don't care) and wished to build their own community on the basis of compassion and love for one's neighbour, rather than the cruel oppressive system they experienced under the Egyptians. Leviticus 21, for instance, essentially says that after a certain amount of time, all debts are to be cancelled and land returned to its original owners. Think of what that would mean for First Nations or the family farm in the Prairies. I won't go into detail in this thread, but every one of the 10 Commandments is designed to counter life as it was in Egypt. As the Hebrew Bible* unfolds, you see Israel moving away from this ideal, and prophets rising from within to call Israel back to it.

There are also 2 instructive things in God's call to Moses that are missed. The first thing is that when Moses asks God's name, God responds by saying, "I Am That I Am," effectively saying "I don't have a name, your names cannot contain Me." This is critical because in the society at the time, they built idols of stone and wood, gave them names, and prayed to them for salvation. (Lest you think our society is any more intelligent, how many times has it been said that we cannot have policies that help the common good because it would interfere with "the market?" We think we're much more intelligent than they were because our cosmology is different, but our society does the same thing, we just don't represent those concepts in a built form where everyone can easily see.) To say so in that context would have been a radical thing to say. That also relates very closely to the Second Commandment, which forbids bowing down to "graven images" made of wood or stone. So essentially God is saying, "your mind cannot fully comprehend what I Am, nor can your categories and language adequately define." The second thing that happens is God tells Moses to lead the people of Israel to liberty and freedom. This is because pastors will often tell people to pray to God for help, but in this passage God essentially says that we must take responsibility for the well-being of our own communities. God is also not seen as intervening on behalf of the nation of Israel until Moses challenges the rule of the Egyptians. Then thousands of years have passed, and so many biases and interpretations have been imposed on these texts and we take them for granted as being correct, even though that is not how the people to whom these texts are written would have understood it.

What a great discussion to be revived as we head into the Easter weekend. Great timing! :)

*It is a common practice in biblical scholarship to refer to the Old Testament as the Hebrew Bible, out of concern that calling it the "Old" Testament is disrespectful to the Jewish faith.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Misfit wrote:

Rural towns are facing a crisis. Attendance is so low that rural churches are struggling to pay their bills. Some are shitting down. All the mainstream churches in our town are struggling. Even the Roman Catholic Church.

That is the same on the West Coast. Do you want to buy a nice church?

The sound of the chiming bell, which resonates through the village of Cumberland every Sunday morning to signify the beginning of the service at Cumberland United Church, will be heard for the final time Nov. 26.

The church will be closing its doors and the congregation disbanding, after nearly 130 years in the Comox Valley.

There will be a special farewell service this Sunday, Oct. 29, “to celebrate its long and faithful history and mourn its loss.”

It is not how Rev. Elaine Julian envisioned her tenure ending.

When Rev. Julian first arrived at Cumberland United in September of 2014 for her posting as what would be the church’s final minister, she was not yet even ordained.

“I was working on my master of divinity degree,” she said. “I had done volunteer work with the church for years, but that was my first paid appointment.”

Julian is a resident of Campbell River, and a long-time member of that congregation. She said looking back at her time in Cumberland, although the closure is a sad conclusion, it’s not a huge surprise.

“The finances there… there are times that they have been OK, but they have mostly been precarious. When I look back, there have been numerous times when the church was close to closing, but it’s always been avoided in one way or another – either someone has stepped in with some money, or we’ve received a grant – something has always postponed it.”

There will be no postponement this time.

https://www.comoxvalleyrecord.com/home/cumberland-united-church-closing-...

Aristotleded24

kropotkin1951 wrote:
Misfit wrote:

Rural towns are facing a crisis. Attendance is so low that rural churches are struggling to pay their bills. Some are shitting down. All the mainstream churches in our town are struggling. Even the Roman Catholic Church.

That is the same on the West Coast. Do you want to buy a nice church?

The sound of the chiming bell, which resonates through the village of Cumberland every Sunday morning to signify the beginning of the service at Cumberland United Church, will be heard for the final time Nov. 26.

The church will be closing its doors and the congregation disbanding, after nearly 130 years in the Comox Valley.

There will be a special farewell service this Sunday, Oct. 29, “to celebrate its long and faithful history and mourn its loss.”

It is not how Rev. Elaine Julian envisioned her tenure ending.

When Rev. Julian first arrived at Cumberland United in September of 2014 for her posting as what would be the church’s final minister, she was not yet even ordained.

“I was working on my master of divinity degree,” she said. “I had done volunteer work with the church for years, but that was my first paid appointment.”

Julian is a resident of Campbell River, and a long-time member of that congregation. She said looking back at her time in Cumberland, although the closure is a sad conclusion, it’s not a huge surprise.

“The finances there… there are times that they have been OK, but they have mostly been precarious. When I look back, there have been numerous times when the church was close to closing, but it’s always been avoided in one way or another – either someone has stepped in with some money, or we’ve received a grant – something has always postponed it.”

There will be no postponement this time.

https://www.comoxvalleyrecord.com/home/cumberland-united-church-closing-...

That must be very sad for their community. I know of a few congregations that have actually conceded space in their large buildings and other community groups have moved in. Some of these congregations are also expereincing a slight revival and rebirth, not having to expend their finances and energy on a building that they cannot maintain. I'm speaking about congregations in urban areas, however. The issue of rural congregation decline is also very closely connected to the fact that the rural economy has been under attack for decades, and as the economy goes, everything that sustains these towns goes with it. The irony is that churches play a much larger role in the social lives of smaller communities than larger ones.

Misfit Misfit's picture

My small town in Saskatchewan is discussing the idea of preserving one church for the community and the different denominations pooling their resources to keep the one church afloat and each denomination having their services at different hours on the day. Our church let our minister go. We could not afford to keep him anymore.

swallow swallow's picture
Aristotleded24

Misfit wrote:
My small town in Saskatchewan is discussing the idea of preserving one church for the community and the different denominations pooling their resources to keep the one church afloat and each denomination having their services at different hours on the day. Our church let our minister go. We could not afford to keep him anymore.

Very sorry to hear that, Misfit. It's true that the Christian faith in this part of the world is dying out. However, one minister I spoke to said that we need to accept that. We need to act out our faith, walk through this death process honestly, and endure in the faith that death does not have the final word but that God will bring forth new life.

Happy Easter to you! :)

Misfit Misfit's picture

Same to you, Ari.

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