If everyone leaves but new people arrive to replace them, how is it that an organization stays the same? This year, at my church, about ten percent of those who pledged last year did not pledge this year. The total number stayed the same — thank God! — but at this rate half the people here now will be gone in eight years, and three-quarters will be gone in fifteen. How is it then that my church or any organization retains its identity over the years as so many members leave and new ones arrive? Somehow churches and other institutions stay the same over time. They have a history, an identity, but what does that mean when the ground under them shifts so radically? Something is going on I do not understand. Nothing unusual there. There is much I do not understand!
Photo of baptism at the Episcopal Church of Saints Andrew and Matthew, Wilmington, Delaware.
Photo copyright 2023; text, 2024 by Danny Nelson Schweers.