Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lost its mojo?

Went today to one of the jewels of religious architecture of New York, the gothic revival Episcopal Church of Saint Ann and the Holy Trinity in Brooklyn Heights. (Like many a neogothic church it has lost its spire over the years.) On a radiant November morning, the somewhat gaudy stained glass windows (apparently the "first set of figural stained glass windows ever made in North America" and considered the finest early 19th century stained glass in the United States) bathe each other in color, islands of blurred brilliance in an otherwise grandly somber setting.

If only the life on the church floor were as lively! At their 11 o'clock - their only - Sunday service, there weren't more than a few dozen people, spread out shyly among the carved wooden pews. Mainline Protestantism in decline, I thought. And: Like Europe! I had to wince when the Priest-in-Charge (an interrim), in the midst of a sermon on leadership in and outside the church, mentioned the kinds of leadership books you could find on the tables at Barnes & Noble and added wryly that her "personal favorite" was Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back If You Lose It.

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