Each individual pays

Each individual pays

Church resignations are a kind of popular referendum. Only with the signs reversed. Instead of deciding to save bees or not to smoke in bars, people decide to leave the church altogether. I like the freedom of choice in religion. When someone decides to leave, it still pains me. Because every single one pays.

The latest figures on the number of people leaving the protestant church have been published. In the coburg deanery district, 722 people left the protestant church last year. A little more than one percent. Doesn’t sound like much. One percent is one in a hundred.

Bible readers are alarmed. One in a hundred is the reason for the shepherd to go in search of the one sheep that is missing. Every single one pays. And every single person is missing once he or she is gone. The church is getting smaller, you don’t notice it right away, but a lot of things are falling by the wayside.

In the past ten years, we in the deanery district of coburg have lost 15 percent of our church members due to departures, an increase in the number of deaths and, above all, resignations. This has consequences. Distinctive houses will disappear, like the community center st. Lukas in ketschendorf. The community can no longer maintain it. Parish positions are no longer being filled, of all things we have to save on well-trained people. In the corona crisis, we learned it’s not good if health care is cut to the bone. We need capacity for unforeseen events, we need people to take care of things, we need reliable facilities. What is true for the body is equally true for the soul. The church is the institution for the unexpected, for a good care of the soul, an institution for the sense of life and community. It reliably stands for basic norms such as faith, hope and love. It’s good if there’s an institution for it, and in the long run it’s bad if it’s missing. Church places are bloodlines for common life. Without the church, social life would be poorer, more uninhabited, less musical, rougher and more lonely. It is enough not to decide against the church. The people’s church lives from the people’s desire to stay with it.

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