Friday, August 18, 2006


Went into Hammond yesterday to take some pictures, and I was struck by what a failure the United Methodist Church has been. We have one church in the north part of Hammond/Whiting/East Chicago --- and it is small and failing to reach the community. It's not the pastor's fault --- believe me, pastors want people to come to church, and have been known to sell their souls to get the crowd to come. The problem is --- we don't know how to reach those that are on the edges, especially when the church is made up of the middle class (which most UM churches are).

The East Chicago United Methodist Church closed in the late 80's or early 90's, and today houses a Pentecostal Hispanic congregation. Rather than minister to the people in the neighborhood (which obviously changed over the years) we would rather close the doors. Same is true of Centenary UMC which closed the last year or so.

Christ UMC faced the same dilemma in the late 80's. Today the many of the former members attend Ridge UMC in Munster.

The question is --- What must we be doing at Ridge UMC to reach those around us, rather than just taking care of ourselves?

What are your thoughts?


Anonymous said...



Sorry to hear about the dilemma of the Methodist churches in Hammond and East Chicago. What is happening with the UMC is also happening with many Catholic churches in the area (especially the schools). I wish I knew the answer - financial problems may be part of the problem - and also the heavy media attention on moral decay through TV, movies, magazines, computer, pornography, etc. These influences can make people lose faith in God and desire less to go to church.

I want to thank you and Jessica for the thoughtful thank-you cards you sent - I greatly appreciated that!

Yesterday after working in the church office, I went to the library and got the book, The Templar Legasy, which you recommended. I hope it's a good read!

Your Israeli trip looks more and more like a reality! THANK GOD!!

Have a nice trip down to Butler. Hope you enjoyed your birthday!!


Anonymous said...

I can only answer part of the question. As a former member of Christ church our problems were , in part,only a handful of people in their late 40's to 60's that were left to do everything. All these people worked which eliminates any chance of after school programs as an outreach.
I don't think people fully realize how fast a church can die with little to no young people in its congrgation. with no young people there are no youth or children to fill sunday school classes as the future of the church.
As the decline started we also had a number of people leave for First church on Hohman Ave rather than stay and try to do anything about the problem, "Quitters".
These are some of the problems that we faced as well as lack of a real District Superintendant at that time.
Ridge church is truly blessed to have grouds, facillities, congrgation thats willing to work,and the foresight to look to the future.
Pat O'Brien