Dear Congregational Family,
1. Boy Scouts of America (BSA): Last week, the Boy Scouts announced their new name: “Scouts”. This reflects the new direction of opening the formerly “Boy Scouts” to now include girls. The reason given for this is because of a declining membership. The BSA have been in existence in the U.S. for over 100 years and have been a thriving organization. But since the 1970’s, membership (and attendance) has been seriously declining – by over 60%! Today, this represents a loss of over 4 million boys to the program, leaving the membership remaining at only around 2 ½ million. While there are a number of reasons for this, two that were given were: the pressure of sports and the business of families.
2. Roman Catholic Church: Two weeks ago, Bishop Zubik of the Pittsburgh Diocese announced that some serious restructuring is going to occur as the Diocese to going to shrink the number of parishes from 188 to 57 by 2021. At one time the Diocese had 344 parishes. The reasons given are: declining attendance, demographic changes in our area’s population, and shortage of priests (predicted to drop from 200 today to 125 by 2025.)
3. Churches in the U.S.: These same statistical declines are being witnessed across our nation in regards to Protestant churches as well. This calls for some serious consideration of what does it mean to be the church, the Body of Christ, in today’s world. Even at Ruthfred we face these same pressures and challenges, some of which stem from a changing culture that has spiritually lost its way. Pray for our leaders as they seek God’s wisdom and the Spirit’s guidance for our congregation that we might not only remain faithful to God and the Scriptures, but also that we might effectively engage our communities with the Gospel, and also call our members to renewed commitment to Jesus Christ!
4. Hebrews 10:25: “Do not forsake your own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day [of Christ’s return] drawing near.”
5. Vicar: This Sunday we are having a farewell reception in the Fellowship Hall for the Quanbeck’s immediately after the 11:00 am service. They will be leaving on Wednesday. Graduation will be on May 19th, and Ordination will take place at the AFLC Annual Conference. They will begin their new ministry in Laurel, NE later in June. We have been blessed to be part of their ministry training!
God bless you as we continue,
“Growing Together in our Faith as the Family of God.”