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Monday, June 12, 2006

When a church dies...

I read with sadness this piece in the New London Day about a church that will have to close. Faced with declining membership and outrageous insurance premiums, the church can no longer afford to keep its doors open.

Adding insult to injury, the United Church of Christ of Oakdale was victimized by vandals serving a different master:

On Sunday morning, two weeks before the Old Colchester Road church will close its doors because of declining enrollment, its leaders discovered that vandals had struck overnight.

Someone entered through a ground-floor window of the church building, tore apart a Bible, partially burned the American flag and scribbled obscenities and satanic images on another Bible. While the damage was minimal and nothing of any value appeared to be stolen, the break-in was yet another reminder of the church's decline.

“As if this poor church hasn't seen its share of heartaches,” said John Carboni, its pastor.

With barely five members remaining, the 34-year-old church can no longer pay its bills or have a viable missionary presence in the community, Carboni said. It will close for good at the end of this month, the victim, or symptom, of what Carboni said is an ever-fragmented society, one where weekend pastimes such as sports, shopping at the mall and part-time jobs have become more important to families than gathering together to hear the word of God.

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