Vicar's Corner

Summer 2016

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Why Church?

This question repeated in my head during a recent trip to my hometown…a trip that was at once a joy and a challenge.

My older sister and I traveled to Oskaloosa Iowa, to reconnect with relatives and to touch the sometimes-hard stories of our beginnings. We were both born in Oskaloosa, where many memories still wait around every corner.

Oskaloosa is a small town in south central Iowa, surrounded by cornfields…miles and miles of cornfields. The town square hosts a band concert every Thursday evening during the summer, and it seems that everyone attends. The high school cheerleaders sell ice cream, the local bank provides lemonade and the fireflies provide the decoration. It is small town America at its best.

Churches are everywhere. As we drove through town, I was amazed at just how many churches there were. The Chamber of Commerce lists 45 churches in Osky alone, serving a population of about 10,000. There are countless other churches beyond the city limits. The sight of so many places of worship, together with the melancholy experience of hometown must have inspired my wondering – why church?

Life in south central Iowa, like everywhere else, has its difficult times. Farmers live a life of faith, depending so completely on weather and good health to make a living. While we were visiting, the lack of rain dominated conversation and prayer alike. Conversation and prayer…a lovely combination, found at all places of worship.

Suddenly I had my answer – why church? We are made for it, plain and simple. We are made to be people of faith, no matter where we live, or how we make our living. Faith, prayer and conversation with others are what get us through, and where are we likely to find these gifts? At church, of course!

As Episcopalians we are especially blessed – our tradition makes room for differing ideas and lifestyles; ages and cultures; ways of being. Having a place so welcoming to so many is one of the things I love most about church…my church.

No matter where (or who) you are on your journey…you are welcome here!
St. Gabriel…a wonderful answer to the question “Why Church?”!