Mat’s November Letter

It’s been really exciting to see St Matthew’s growing in numbers over the past year or so. If everyone turned up on the same day we’d have close to 200 adults and 45 children attending. I’ve also noticed that as our numbers increase the frequency of attendance seems to have decreased. I wonder why that is?

Nationally the Church of England reckons that a third of people who would say that they are church members, are not in church on any one Sunday. In fact many only come once per month. Of course there is the weekend away, illness, family commitments; but is there something deeper than this going on? Are there other reasons for less frequent attendance; busyness, or the feeling that we don’t get anything out of the service, or just not feeling like going? Is Sunday church a priority for believers? Should a vicar be concerned at this or is it just a fact of life in the 21st Century? Why do we gather together on Sunday to worship anyway?

First and foremost I’d say we gather to worship God together. Sunday worship is about what we give to God as a community. It is a public community expression of God’s love for us and our love for God. Secondly, we gather expecting to meet with God and be changed in that meeting and nourished for the week ahead. Thirdly, when we gather together it is an encouragement to see and be with other people expressing faith in Christ. It reminds us that we’re part of the body of Christ. Fourthly, we gather to support one another through prayer, practical support, listening and just being together. We rejoice with those who rejoice and cry with those in need.

The body of Christ isn’t the full body if bits of it don’t join together. We do miss you if you’re not there—not in a school absence way—but in a ‘we love you and we didn’t see you’ way.

The letter to the Hebrews (Hebrews 10:24-25Open Link in New Window) says this; “let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.”
This is not a new issue. But it is important. I’d love to hear by email or phone what you think. Perhaps you’d like to reflect, pray and come back to me. My contact details are on this site.

Mat

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