Seventy Three Churches and Counting

The city of Barrie has, as far as I can tell, 73 churches.

This year I intend to visit them all.

Now, you might ask yourself why I would voluntarily choose to sit through 73 sermons, when I could be catching up on sleep, or sitting in Second Cup, or organizing my filing cabinet.

As someone who’s avoided church as much as he could for the last year, and finds it almost impossible to sit through a sermon without either walking out or writing copious notes on each point that I disagree with, I’m even a little surprised myself that I’d choose to do this, but I do have some specific reasons.

I may be a harsh critic of the church, but deep down I do still believe that Christ loves her.  We followers of Christ may be fragmented, we may be argumentative, we may frequently get things wrong, but I believe that Christ sees beyond our denominational boundaries, our weaknesses and our failings, and cares for us and wants to work redemptively through us.

I also have some specific questions that I want to ask to the entire Christian community in Barrie:

  1. May I come in?  What is really meant by that ‘All Welcome’ sign hanging outside?
  2. What is God doing in the city?  I am curious to see whether I will get one answer to this question, or 73.  Will the Ukrainian Orthodox give me the same answer as the Pentecostals?
  3. Why is your church here?  Again, I’m intrigued to see how broad a response I will get.  Will the pastor tell me the same thing as the guy sitting next to me in the pew?

I suspect other questions will arise as I begin my visits – what would you ask the churches of your city if you had the chance?