Showing posts from October, 2014


One of the burning issues in many churches is simply survival in a sea of conflicting and competing secular activities. Many historic churches - called often 'mainline'- find themselves trying to redefine themselves and establish some sense of relativity in modern life.   One group is the United Methodist Church.  Since the 1970's their upward membership trend of the previous century has been steadily declining.  Many leaders sounded early calls to apply the breaks to trends and policies aiding in this decrease.  Books such as Wilke's "Are We Yet Alive?" (1986) and Scotts' "Restoring Methodism: 10 Decisions for United Methodist Churches in America " (2006)  explored steps that needed to be taken. In recent years there is an increased focus on identifying and communicating the primary mission of the church ("Make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world") and on doing things in new ways in order to improve reachin…

Abbey Street Methodist Church (Dublin, Ireland)

The Abbey Street Methodist Church, 9c Lower Abbey Street ,  Dublin (Republic of Ireland) is in the heart of downtown Dublin. It is just a short detour off one of the main streets (O'Connell).  It is a place rich in history since it lays claim to some 200 hundred years of worship at that location. Methodism's founder, John Wesley, preached in a location on Abbey Street in 1747 (see "The Methodist Chapels in Dublin" by D. A. Levistone Cooney, Dublin Historical Record, Vol. 57, No. 2 (Autumn, 2004), pp. 152-163).  The church location on that street is mention also in the  Minutes of The Methodist Conferences 1744 Volume XIX (online here). You can read about John Wesley visiting in Dublin in the 18th century here.  Additionally, several of his journals chronicle his often fascinating adventures as he journeyed across predominately Catholic Ireland preaching and visiting.

Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin

The oldest cathedral in Dublin, the cathedral was founded probably sometime after 1028 when King Sitric Silkenbeard, the Hiberno-Norse king of Dublin made a pilgrimage to Rome.  The crypt  is considered the largest cathedral crypt in Britain or Ireland measuring just over 63 meters in length. It was constructed between 1172-1173.  The crypt contains various monuments and historical features, including:  the oldest known secular carvings in Ireland. These two carved statues stood outside the Tholsel (Dublin's medieval city hall, which was demolished in 1806) until the 1800's. There is also a tabernacle and set of candlesticks which were used when the cathedral last operated (for a very short time) under the "Roman rite". That was when the Roman Catholic king, James II, fled England in 1690. Crypts were an ancient feature found in some of the earliest of Christian worship places. Basically, a crypt an underground room, or vault, beneath a church and was used as a cha…