Trinity College’s American Religious Identification Survey released this year showed New England overtaking the Pacific Northwest as the least religious region in the country. Twenty-two percent of respondents here said they have no religious faith of any kind, highest in the country.
In a Gallup poll this year, all six New England states were in the Top 10 least religious in the country, with Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts claiming the top four spots.
The story describes a gathering at a church plant pastored by a Southern Seminary grad and former Clifton Baptist Church member, Chris Bass:
On a recent fall Sunday, a younger group of about 50 people gathered to hear Bass’s message of salvation. The hymn “How Great Thou Art” was sung to a contemporary tune and echoed through an airy sanctuary that could fit seven times more worshippers. During fellowship afterward, Watertown resident Ralph Filicchia said he was drawn by curiosity. He said local churches have been killed by the “poison” of liberal theology, and he was eager to support a conservative church.
But the 74-year-old said he’s lived in New England long enough to avoid rosy predictions. Churches that preach traditional dogma, such as Redeemer Fellowship, can be branded intolerant.
“Up here, it’s tough, it’s tough,” Filicchia said. “It always has been.”
Read the whole thing. This church was planted by the NETS church planting residency program in Vermont, a program I’ve discussed numerous times on this blog. In addition, note the PCA pastor mentioned, Doug Warren; a number of my close friends in college attended the church he pastors and benefited hugely from it.
There are encouraging developments, spiritually speaking, in New England. They may be small at times, and they may be mixed with much frustration and prolonged discouragement, but the Lord has by no means given up on this region. Here’s hoping for many more to join Bass, Warren, Wes Pastor and many others and take up the long, hard, and eternally rewarding work of New England ministry.