Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Thursday 26 November |
Saint Leonard of Port Maurice

Preaching at Christmas? Here's some advice

People at mass on christmas eve

Tatjana Splichal | Družina

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 12/23/17

From The Wichita Eagle:

Regular church attendees will likely notice strangers filling their pews and parking lots this weekend.

They call those people “C ‘n’ E’s” – urbandictionary.com even has definitions for “Chreaster” – “Those Christians who only show up to religious services on Christmas and Easter.”

Pastors at several Wichita churches say it’s their goal to turn the Chreasters into active churchgoers, but they won’t go as far as to alienate the rest of their congregation while they do it.

“It’s no secret that you’re definitely preaching to people you may only see once or twice a year,” said the Rev. Andrew Bergkamp, parochial vicar at Church of the Blessed Sacrament, who will deliver the homily at the church’s midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. “It is tempting to preach to your normal congregation, but it would behoove us to reach out to those who normally won’t be here. That is certainly something that I try to be cognizant of, to put myself in their shoes a little bit to see what they need and what will captivate them, certainly.”

Bergkamp joined Blessed Sacrament in June shortly after graduating from seminary. As a first-year priest, he said, he doesn’t have the relationship with his congregation built up to say what some veteran priests might say.

“Priests sometimes are very explicit, in a half-joking way, to call people out and say, ‘For those of you who don’t frequent our services, you are welcome and even encouraged to come next weekend and any weekend,’” he said. “I think it just depends on how well established you are at an established parish or church.”

The Rev. John Oelze, executive pastor of First Mennonite Brethren Church, said his church’s approach to the two-time-a-year attendees is subtle, with an information card in their bulletin and a wall of information of what the church has to offer.

“Certainly for any guests, or even a Chreaster person, we’d love for them to come back further for other things we have here, whether it be events or concerts or small groups or anything like that,” Oelze said. “We’ll encourage people to do that if they come for the Christmas Eve service.”

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Luz Ivonne Ream
What’s the secret of this couple’s 64 years o...
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio's favorite prayer of petition
CHRIST THE KING
Edifa
Why do we say that "Christ is King"?
CHRISTMAS AD
Cerith Gardiner
This heartwarming TV ad focuses on what reall...
Cerith Gardiner
This Irish blessing is what we all need to he...
Zelda Caldwell
SpaceX’s ‘Resilience’ commanded by astronaut ...
See More