Mike responded:

“If that were to happen to the Cathedral of St Helena, of which I am a parishioner, I would stand in its midst and go down with it.”

I replied:

Mike, you are right. Our beloved St. Helena Cathedral is one of the treasures of Christendom…and it ain’t dead yet (as Bob Newhart recently announced.) That’s because it is full.

The only thing more beautiful than a church like our beloved cathedral is the same church filled with worshippers.  It is easy to forget that a church (any church) without a congregation is only fit for use as a museum or storage unit. St. Helena elevates and warms the heart because it is filled to bursting with worshippers (including families with children and crying babies) for three services every Sunday.


I prefer to sit in the back row so that I can see the congregation as they rise and fill the space with songs of praise. The congregation is as much a part of the church as the building and the clergy and the music.  When the congregation leaves or dies out, the church is like the shell of a mollusk: beautiful for the beachcomber to look at, and perhaps a home for some passing hermit crab (until he outgrows it).   A magnificent gothic church filled mostly with tourists is a sad spectacle indeed. But a church (any church) filled with worshippers is unlikely to be demolished to make way for a parking lot.

But if it comes to that, I hope to be here with you.