Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Requiem for St. Luke's

In the last day or so, news has come out that the venerable St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Seattle is splitting and that 3/4 of the parish is leaving to form a new congregation that will join up with CANA, one of the new Anglican jurisdictions hoping to supplant the US Episcopal Church. I knew of this six weeks ago when I spoke at St. Luke's one Sunday morning, then had lunch with the rector and his wife: John and Holly Roddam, at a local Thai restaurant.
It was a most enlightening repast for we compared notes about all sorts of things. I found it really odd that when I was in high school in the early 70s, St. Luke's was packed with people. John said 700 were members back then; nearly a megachurch by Episcopal standards. When I showed up there Oct. 3, there were less than 50 people there. It was a sad contrast to Mars Hill, a church barely a mile away, which has multiple branches and last I heard was at about 7,000 people. It's probably larger than that now. But 30 years ago, St. Luke's was packing them in.
St. Lukes, for those of you who do not know it, was one of three major charismatic Episcopal parishes in the country. The other two were Redeemer in Houston and St. Paul's Darien in Connecticut. I've been at 2 of the 3 churches this year. Redeemer had barely 60 people at a Sunday morning service and their rector left at the end of the summer. The parish is barely able to pay its bills much less afford a new priest. In fact, St. Luke's will revert to mission status to serve the handful of people left there. John told me he guesses the financially strapped Diocese of Olympia will soon sell it. The real estate in downtown Ballard is just worth too much money.
I have not visited St. Paul's, but a friend who knows the place well says it too has reverted to barely-making-it status although at least it -unlike the other 2 churches - at least has a rector. I can't help but wonder if there is a sign in all this; that 3 of the liveliest parishes in the denomination have been or are being snuffed out.
Not much personal news; jobhunting has been fruitless and I just finished doing the WPost magazine article after the deadline was moved up one month. Am including a photo of Veeka at her new gym class. My little Olga Korbut just loves to flip about.

1 comment:

Frank Lyons said...

Glad to hear your voice. +Frank