Over the years I have attended many commencement ceremonies as a parent, occasionally as the speaker and this year, for the first time, as a grandparent. One ceremony that stands out in my mind is when my daughter received her M.D. from Ohio State. It was held in the stadium where in the fall the Buckeyes play before more than 100,000 zealous football fans.
It is not clear whether Thomas Reese was forced, pressured or strongly encouraged to resign as editor of the Jesuit weekly America. It’s widely assumed that his departure was connected to the election of the new pope, Benedict XVI.
At ordination Presbyterian ministers promise to give their “energy, intelligence, imagination and love” to ministry. Sometimes just managing the institution of the church exhausts such capacities. Sometimes attending to the committees, task forces, program evaluations, staff supervision and budgets is all-consuming.
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).