On being more than a social club

One of the joys of being a weekend editor is stumbling across profiles of clergy written for local newspapers for their weekend religion sections; with blogging, it allows the spotlight to shine on leaders of smaller congregations.

Take, for instance, the Rev. Holly Ann Davis, who will be ordained as a priest and installed as rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church (noted for its beautiful Tiffany Windows) in Franklin, Pa., later this year. She succeeds the Right Rev. Sean Howe, now bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania, who, it seems, was the only person not surprised by her being chosen for the parish:

As the first female of St. John’s 14 rectors, Davis is breaking ground of a different sort.

Davis said she doubted she would be chosen by the parish, which described itself as “a very predictable parish” during its search for a new rector.

She said even the search committee seemed surprised.

Only Rowe, who asked the parish to interview Davis, seemed unsurprised by the turn of events, she said.

In her interview, Davis spoke of how to build the church up, especially in a small town where many of the residents are unchurched:

She said she does not subscribe to the “flower child” philosophy of “I’m OK. You’re OK, and that’s OK.”

“I’m not OK. You’re not OK. Christ died on the cross because you’re not OK,” she said.

“People don’t come to church because things are going well. They are broken. They are looking for something, a relationship with the Risen Lord,” she added.

“If we are not advancing the Kingdom, then we are a social club. We have to be constantly keeping our eye on the prize,” she said.

You can read the story here.

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