Saturday, February 07, 2009

Missing Pastors in Rural USA

In Minnesota, Daniel Wolpert pastors a conventional, aging congregation but also runs a contemplation center on a plot of former farmland.

Rural Churches Grapple with a Pastor Exodus

In Minnesota, Daniel Wolpert pastors a conventional, aging congregation but also runs a contemplation center on a plot of former farmland.
David Bowman for TIME

rural pastors are disappearing even faster than the general population, leaving graying congregations helpless in their time of greatest need. Trace Haythorn, president of the nonprofit Fund for Theological Education (FTE), says fewer than half the rural churches in the U.S. have a full-time seminary-trained pastor; in parts of the Midwest, the figure drops to 1 in 5. "It's a religious crisis, for sure," says Daniel Wolpert, pastor of First Presbyterian in Crookston, Minn., and a partner with the FTE, which supports young ministers and religious teachers. "And to the extent that these churches are anchoring institutions, it's a crisis of community." The sign for one lovely wood-framed church in nearby Buxton, N.D., says it all: GRUE LUTHERAN CHURCH. FOUNDED SINCE 1879. PASTOR--and then a blank where a name should be.

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Comments from Christianity Today blog, Out of Ur, The Hansen Report

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4 Comments:

Blogger Paul said...

It's a sad situation.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

Yes, Paul, I agree.It is a sad situation in any country.

3:22 PM  
Blogger BrianW said...

For over sixty years, Village Missions has been dedicated to keeping country churches alive. We believe that a vibrant, local church is central to the spiritual and moral health of a rural community. We assign a dedicated pastor/missionary couple to a church at the request of a struggling church and provide salary and other forms of support so that the couple can live and minister in that community. We have served over 1,000 churches in this way during our existence—currently we serve approximately 200 churches in the U.S. and 30 churches in Canada. A video posted on my blog perfectly illustrates the importance of having a pastor in a small community. You can find it at http://www.village-missions.org/about/from-the-director/. Brian Wechsler, Executive Director, Village Missions

1:28 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

Hi BrianW,

welcome and thank you for your comment. It is encouraging to know about Village Missions and the good work it is doing in the USA and Canada.

I cannot agree with you more about having a pastor in a small community.

2:14 AM  

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