Our service ended with a Eucharist, celebrated at an
imposing altar. I
learned to make my gestures big, to open my arms wide, to lift the cup
above my head. What I never quite got the hang of was the chanting.
Vogan is one of the most dedicated church members I know. Every Sunday, 15
minutes before the prelude begins, he climbs up into our soaring, Gothic tower
with one goal: to set our 2,020-pound church bell into full swing. Then, for
ten whole minutes, the Old South bell calls all of Boston to pray.
What do young people look for in church? In research done in 250 congregations among people ages 15–29, respondents repeatedly said they were looking for congregations that were “welcoming, accepting, belonging, authentic, hospitable, and caring.” The researchers began to call this set of concerns the “warmth cluster.” Worship bands and ministry programs are not a priority, nor is busyness. Even “niceness” doesn’t work with young people. What they apparently seek at church is a sense of family, which calls for intergenerational relationships (Washington Post, September 6).