Glad to hear other countries are in on this nonsense.
Now approaching its 17th iteration, the Koine expo in Vicenza, Italy, continues to unveil innovative products but also bread-and-butter items for churches like lighting systems and figurines. Last year, the fair hosted 13,000 visitors from all over the world who perused wares from 347 vendors. A new book, “Besides Faith,” by photographer Louis De Belle features vignettes of the expo.
This year’s fascinating items included glow-in-the-dark Jesus figures and electronic rosaries, according to De Belle. The rosary, he said, is a fascinating little pray-along device particularly useful for those with arthritis. It features a “spooky” chorus of praying nuns, an “Auto-Mystery” button that selects prayers and little yellow LEDs that light up. “I eventually developed a much more ‘show-business’ opinion of religion,” De Belle said about attending the expo.
Coming up with new tools for engagement is serious business for churches, which are facing sliding attendance rates with each generation. Fifty-one percent of the oldest living generation, the “Greatest Generation,” attends religious services at least once a week, while the same is true for only 37 percent of baby boomers, and just 27 percent of millenials, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center study.