Neighborhood-wide mailings must be paying off for some of our separated brethren.Not all that that long ago all I received were invitations to Christmas and Easter services from two or three local Protestant churches. Then, a couple of years ago, Vacation Bible School mailings began to appear in my mailbox.
Today's mail brought the above announcement of a parenting-related series of Sunday sermons from a nearby non-denominational group.
The six Catholic parishes in my immediate area have been losing almost 4% of their combined parishioners year in and year out for the last 10 years. (In 1998 we had over 8,300 folks in our collective pews; by 2007 more than 2,500 of them had disappeared.) I suspect the main culprit is far too many years of adult catechesis ranging from the merely anemic to the totally non-existent. This, coupled with the "liberal" Catholic outlook of some of our current and former pastoral staff, explains a lot.
But I also have to wonder just how much of a role mailings like this are playing in that decline.