The Rev. Peter Marty, publisher and editor of the progressive Christian Century Magazine, predicts the following for post-pandemic religious congregations:
(1) The physically gathered church congregation will increase in social and spiritual importance as other institutions shift online and human isolation increases;
(2) Seeking and appreciating authentic spiritual (relational) experience and growth will increase;
(3) Appreciation of dedicated sacred space will increase;
(4) Pastoral care by ministers and congregants will be much needed to counter the current atmosphere of lies, undue suspicion, and demonization;
(5) To have personal and societal well-being, the need will be great for ‘drawing near” in direct relationship;
(6) Gracious sharing of realities, concerns, confessions and hopes across tables of diversity will be a crucial to societal well-being.
Sometimes Pastor Marty’s columns are too orthodox for me as a religious naturalist and humanist. But his predictions here seem worthy of our attention as we move into our future.