Now, ordinarily a church supplies expo wouldn't capture much of our attention, besotted as it is with term papers and reality television. But the Guardian notes that this particular gathering will include a clerical fashion show, apparently featuring bespoke garments for the ecclesiastical set.
In our corner of the economy, excellent pastors got fired and many took wage and benefit cuts. In some cases, the congregations didn’t realize that their decrease in membership was a national trend that had a lot to do with shifting demographics.
Since I left parish ministry almost two years ago, the oddest question I have been asked is, "What do you preach about now that you have left the church?" The people who ask tend to be deeply involved in their communities of faith. Many are clergy or denominational officers, while others supply the volunteer hours upon which any community depends.
Years ago I wrote about the tendency of modernist, evolution-minded, progressive, pacifist theists to live long lives. Someone once asked Vida Scudder the secret of her longevity. She said that she was a liberal who nurtured many projects, and she had to get up each morning to see how they were doing.
The number of ordained clergy age 35 or under in mainline denominations is remarkably low. The United Church of Christ lists only 207 clergy in that category—only 4 percent of its total number of ministers.
Mainline denominations have only begun to recognize the alarmingly low numbers of clergy under the age of 35. In my denomination, the United Church of Christ, I am one of only 207 clergy in that age bracket—about 4 percent of total clergy.
The second best-selling book on campuses these days is Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht’s straight-faced but not unhumorous The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook (Chronicle). The back cover alerts readers, “Caution: Book will explode if scanned.” It is “the indispensable, indestructible guide for surviving life’s sudden turns for the worse.