Economics of City Ministry

A quick #sustainministry follow-on. Is it little wonder that there’s so much wishful and whistful thinking about having monasteries “somewhere”? It’s easy to picture some small, leafy town. Easier certainly that imagining the same in a leafy stretch of Greenwich Village.

Considering the high cost of living and property — purchased or rental — and the cultural and community alternatives found in the large coastal cities, and the high rates of practical secularism, what kind of future is there for churches?

I once read (not long ago) that once a church or synagogue is demolished in New York it is almost impossible to replace it elsewhere. That is, the peak number of houses of worship has past. I would believe the same is true for the District of Columbia. Perhaps that’s fine. But does it imply that we have as many churches as we will ever have in these same coastal cities. And that’s remembering that much of the denominational growth was in the post-WWII housing boom outside those cities. Even with alternative modes of ministry, it’s not hard to imagine that cities will be a special challenge.

Just getting that off my chest.

Shared bike comes to DC

Self-service shared bicycle stations, featured in European cities, comes to the United States first in Washington, D.C. (Or perhaps not; there seems to have been programs elsewhere. So it must be the automated, self-service piece.) A good idea, I think given our strong transit use and relatively flat terrain.

The stations locations, plainly, couldn’t be better for me for home, work and shopping. (I can see one being built from my apartment window.) Even though I’m not much of a bike person, I think I might sign up.