26 March 2009

The church and economic woes

Lorna Dueck of the CBC asks, "Where is the church-led economic recovery?"

Good question. Dueck is quite correct that in the past, the churches did a lot to effect change. So what are they doing now? It sure seems to me, and to a lot of the commenters on CBC (I still can't seem to manage to avoid reading those) that churches seem more worried about what is going on in our bedrooms and our uteruses than they are about social change. But of course, they and I are influenced by what we're hearing in the media. How many of those complainers are church-goers? Very few, I reckon.

The UCC is doing a fair bit. From begging congregations to write the government to ask them to intervene in Africa advocating for cancellation of debt in poor countries. Locally, there are church sponsored soup kitchens and homeless shelters.

But what are we doing on a local level other than charity? I mean, charity is great. But what about people who need a hand before they hit rock bottom? What kinds of programs are there for people who've recently lost their jobs? Are there counseling centres? Are there resources to help people with depression? Are there resources for childcare for people with young children who can't afford babysitters?

I know my church doesn't offer any of these things. Mind you, we are a small, aging church (120 regulars, the vast majority of whom are retired). But there are any number of things we could do to help people. But there seems to be a view in churches (not just mine) that the older folks have done their work, and now the younger people should take over. But when there are no young people coming (except me and another lady), they're going to have to step back to the plate. Besides, how better to get young people to find church relevant than to help them when they need help?