When friends gave birth last fall to Lydia, she was normal and healthy.
But three months later the seizures began, and she was diagnosed with a
rare genetic disorder, Aicardi Syndrome. Now she clings to life
precariously. In preparing for her death, her parents asked me for
funeral resources, and I suggested Jeremiah 1:4-10.
In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus begins with the comforting word: “Do not
be afraid!” Elsewhere, he has told us not to be afraid in the middle of
a raging storm, or in the dark of night, or when he confronts us like a
ghost after resurrection.
By one estimate 7,000 churches close down each year in the United States. A 2012 study predicted that 20 percent of the churches in Philadelphia would close within ten years. Many of these churches are architectural gems. Razing these buildings can be very expensive. A more satisfactory solution is to repurpose them, turning them into art and culture centers or housing units. The Mount Airy Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia is having 20 condominiums built on its property. The sanctuary will be leased back to the congregation for its continued use (Philadelphia Inquirer, August 4).