About the author : paulwesslundwriter

Paul Wesslund spent a career writing and editing for newspapers and in the energy industry. When he retired in 2015 he went on to write two books on how kindness and integrity leads to success, wrote a monthly energy column, became an environmental organizer, and got involved in the leadership of his church.

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Three times in the past six years, our pastor has acted out a small drama during his weekly sermon. “This is not the church,” he’ll say, crossing his arms over his chest. Then, unclenching and spreading his arms wide, “This is the church.” Each reenactment of this open and welcoming gesture strikes me as the kind of message people need to hear, outside as well as inside our stained-glass windows.

Yet record numbers of Americans have quit going to church. Studies and personal stories describe people either leaving churches or just drifting away for reasons like being too busy or disagreeing on social issues.

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