Sewer Thoughts

This past week we have had a sewer problem saga at the house. (Think if it could go wrong it did go wrong – including the last chapter of a driver ignoring the street closed sign and driving her car into the fresh concrete, newly poured, to repair the cut in the street.) This sewer repair has meant lots of people involved in solving the problem both our plumber and the city department.  As with any such project we had a large number of workers gathered each of whom is specialized. One was a heavy machine operator, another a laborer, another was the waste water pipe specialist, then the required supervisor and the supervisor’s supervisor. They solved the problem step by step, task by task with each specialist handling that part of it. As the work progressed there were usually 6-8 people standing watching the specialist doing whatever it is they do. It seems highly in effective to have so much manpower and only 1 or 2 people involved in the work – the rest idly kibitzing.

It suddenly occurred to me that the church world has also developed a form of specialists. We call them sects or denominations. I call these specialists because the Christian team rarely seems to be working together. In most places I have lived and worked we specialists have stood on the side lines and watch another denomination working away commenting on their progress and evaluating them – saying how we would have done it better or at least differently (and thus more efficiently). But we don’t join in on a common mission laboring together. We see one another as the competition.

In Jeffersonville we are blessed to have the Downtown Jeffersonville Churches. These wonderful colleagues meet monthly to see how we can work together, and can support one another in our projects, hopes and dream. We do what we can together and share information about community concerns and when we are able stand united to voice our opinion on matters of local import.

Jesus did not call us to be competitors for the hearts, minds, time, and pledge cards of God’s people. Our call as Christians and as denominations is to share Good News, heal the sick, bind up the broken, and help others experience the presence of Emmanuel – God with us.


About don

The Rev Don Hill is an Episcopal priest, rail fan and writer. He and his wife the Rev. Dr. Nancy Woodworth-Hill are currently Co-Pastors of St Paul's Episcopal Church, Jeffersonville IN, in the Diocese of Indianapolis. They also work as parish consultants in Appreciative Inquiry, strategic planning and spirituality development for parishes and vestries.
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