Next Year in Jerusalem

This time last year, I was reporting on this blog that our attendance was hovering somewhere around one-third of our pre-Covid congregation. We had anticipated that the post-lockdown attendance would be sluggish. But even so, we were surprised by all the empty seats each week. At that time, there were still so many unanswered questions, […]

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We Remember

The following is my homily for May 29, 2022, Ascension Sunday. This Sunday was to be the second Sunday of our message series all about “celebration.” Clearly, given the events of the past week, the topic of celebration is no longer appropriate. Instead, it falls to me as pastor, to bring words to our gathering, […]

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Let’s Be Honest About the Church Post-Pandemic

Here at Nativity, Easter was very encouraging in terms of attendance and engagement. The next two weeks were decidedly not. Nor, for that matter, has 2022 as a whole provided much confidence in terms of any semblance of a return to pre-COVID normal. This is true for churches everywhere: the current attendance figures suggest most […]

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The Opportunity of the Easter Season

Easter Sunday, and the whole of the Easter season, is always an opportunity for the parish, but never more so than this year, given the past two years of our COVID experience. Whatever size or style of your parish you will be welcoming visitors and first-timers, not to mention parishioners returning to church for the […]

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Responding to Current Events at Church

The past two years have brought us all historic and largely unfortunate events and new realities: COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, escalating urban violence, a contentious and contested presidential election, deepening partisan divisions, economic instability, weather-related calamities, and now the tragedy in Ukraine. And, given cable news and social media, we are more aware of these […]

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Saint Michael Defend Them in Battle

Our hearts break for the Ukrainian people, especially the overwhelmingly sad suffering of children, painfully on display with the evening news. All of us in the Nativity community are praying for an end to the conflict and the restoration of national boundaries that reflect the autonomy of the Ukrainian people. But no matter what the […]

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An Annual Appeal

A “spiritual campaign” is about getting people moving in the same direction for a greater purpose. It’s about accomplishing something that we could not do on our own, or without intentional direction. A spiritual campaign is marked by focused attention that leads to growth and momentum. By the end of a spiritual campaign, members of […]

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Discipleship | Making Church Matter

Growing Through Audacious Goals

I’m not entirely sure where the number even came from. One moment, we were talking generally about the desire to increase participation in our small group program. The next, my associate Tom Corcoran was declaring in front of the whole congregation and our online audience that our goal for this year was to get 1,000 […]

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Discipleship | Leadership

Who’s Stealing the Joy at Your Parish?

For our first message series of the new year, we’ve been looking at “thieves” of joy: things that threaten to steal our joy: things like worry, disappointment, fear, anger, rejection, and all the rest. The purpose of the series is to name those thieves and then identify strategies that will protect us and help us […]

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What's new at Nativity

An Overview of 2022 at Nativity

After two years of COVID everybody is really ready for a return to normal, which may or may not come our way in 2022. Regardless of the circumstances in our community, however restrictive the state and county mandates, and mindful of the very real fears of many parishioners, we intend to march into the new […]

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