The Rt. Rev. Kirk S. Smith, Bishop of Arizona, writes in praise of small congregations:
This past weekend, I had the privilege of ordaining a new priest, Sandy Chilese, and installing her as the Vicar of what is probably the smallest and most remote of all the congregations in the Diocese — Sts. Philip and James in Morenci.
For those of you not that familiar with Arizona geography, Morenci is located in the mid-eastern part of the state, not far from the New Mexico border. It is a “company” town, where the Freeport-McMoRan copper mine owns all the buildings in town, including the church building.
… Because such a church interacts so much more intimately with town citizens, their programs usually get far more “bang for the buck.” In a town like Morenci, for example, everyone knows where the Episcopal church is and the work they do. In a city like Phoenix or Tucson, not so much. Moreover, when a congregation of 40 people gains just 4 new members that is a 10% gain. A congregation of 1,000 would have to get 100 new folks to match that!
Image: Bishop Kirk S. Smith’s visitation, from the website of Sts. Philip and James in Morenci