|Date Posted||February 27, 2018|
Bethlehem (Anne Kitch)
|Communicants in Good Standing||64|
|Average Sunday Attendance||35|
|Child Population in Church School||0|
|Adult Population in Church School||0|
|Teacher Population in Church School||0|
St. Paul's is an older, mature congregation with a young attitude. We are eager to meet newcomers and welcome all without expectation or being threatening. We accept people of at all levels of ability and have opened our church doors to AA and NA (not only the basement doors.) We minister to the sick, the homeless, and those just hungry for fellowship through our pastoral care of one another, prayer shawls, sleeping bags for the homeless, and social activities to which all are invited. Our Daughters of the King chapter is active, prayerful, and service-oriented. We want to be "the place to be and become" for those who have no place else.
Our physical plant is in excellent shape as we have completed a five-year plan to ready our church for the next generation. We remodeled the entire altar area by removing choir pews, adding new lighting, new floors, and painting the dome to match our Tiffany windows behind the altar. We have a newly installed heating system with natural gas. We just completed a major renovation of our kitchen, which we plan to use for "recovery" dinners with our NA and AA groups.
St. Paul's has strong lay leadership and we work together as a team. We work to communicate, collaborate, and build consensus. Our hospitality expresses our love for one another and those in the community. We are building our sense of spirituality through Centering Prayer, home meditations offered during penitential seasons, and Bible study.
Our biggest challenge is not the older age or the small size of the congregation, but rather that we are having difficulty identifying where God is working in the community and wants us to join Him. We feel a definite call to support the recovering community, but because AA and NA are anonymous groups that, by tradition, must remain independent, we are unsure of how to be more available to them. Our numerous and varied ministries do not have the "curb appeal" of attracting our entire congregation or others to get involved. We want to be involved in something that is bigger than St. Paul's, but are unsure what they might look like or where we are needed.
Another challenge is our lack of an effective stewardship program. We have identified the need for a year-round program, but have not pulled that off for the past two years. Our sizable investment trust also sends a mixed message.
Montrose is a quiet, lovely, small town in Pennsylvania with New England roots and an attitude of vitality. Those who live there note that the people are friendly, the schools are good, and traffic is light to non-existent. Nearby cultural centers are within an hour’s drive. The mountains, fields, and farms surrounding town offer peace, fresh air, and cooler summers.
The Rev. Canon Anne E. Kitch