I was present at the service on Sunday, Oct. 7 (Nov.-Dec. 2007 Together) at the site of City Church in Gary. I remember when the congregation closed. I also remember when we closed both First UMC and Indiana Harbor in East Chicago, when we closed Ambridge, Glen Park, and Marshalltown in Gary, and when we closed Centenary and Christ UMC in Hammond.

We apologized to the community for failing to continue in vital ministry at City Church. Are we also prepared to apologize to these other communities for failing in our ministry to them as well? It appears that we simply do not know how to be in ministry in the urban community. Obviously, other churches are carrying on effective ministry in these neighborhoods.

Is there not something we can learn from them? What is God calling the UMC to do in these communities? Probably not plant flowers.

- Rev. Bill Kaster
Plymouth, Ind.
Trinity UMC