A Note from Fr. Vince
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
How’s the lack of the Iowa State Fair treating you? Maybe you are one of those who always avoided the fair. For the other million+ people, it makes for another serious loss of what normal life looks like. I was a 50-50 fair person. I always went with a friend, but took the express trip. That means only 1-1/2 hours! Here’s how it went: varied industry building to the ice cream stand to the pork chop on a stick, to that ‘fried/powdered sugared heart attack thing’ to a take-home pie to watching a little free entertainment stage. What more does one need? But I miss it. School can’t start til the fair is over. Now we aren’t sure when school starts.
I was at the bishop’s zoom meeting yesterday. Pastor’s commented on how they are navigating Covid and it wasn’t pretty. The celebrant of mass looks out at a church with 60 people in it, that also looks like masked bandits. There’s no procession and little singing, along with hygiene and repetitive cleaning etc. Most attendees are between 30 and 60. That means very few kids at one end and very few seniors on the other end. The pastors who commented said their tithing was off from 20% at the lowest to near 50%. How long this recession will last will depend on ending this pandemic. It’s like I told you a few weeks ago, go order your Christmas and New Year’s masks because we will still be wearing them.
It’s my personal feeling that tithing will not fully return until Covid is under control and unemployment lessens. Even if tithing is down only 15%, it doesn’t sound like much under the circumstances, but that would be over $300,000 here at St. Augustin. My other fear is that the end of the pandemic doesn’t mean people return in the same numbers from last fall/winter. Many people have drifted away slowly. They don’t watch the live-stream or scan our website or Facebook page. They get used to it and won’t act on it when it’s time to return. We might feel those are people who weren’t invested in the first place. That may be true, but the church must foster a plan of action that is engaging and draws people in to be a vibrant church community.