The English have word for churches that no longer function as worship sites; they call them, “disused.”

In the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, where I vacationed recently, there are many such buildings in little hamlets and towns that have suffered population decline over the years. Near my cottage, churches have become, respectively, an art school, a law office, a town office, and a residence.

This process can’t help but seem sad to Christians, though it is hardly new. When Incarnation was built in 1864, there were four other Episcopal churches within a couple of blocks. One relocated uptown; the others (including an oddly named Zion Episcopal Church, of which I own an engraving) have all disappeared.

All the more reason to be grateful that our building is still here–and still, day in and day out, used for prayer to our God. —J. Douglas Ousley


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