Jesus Christ, the light of the world.
My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations. (Isaiah 56:7, quoted by Jesus in Mark 11:17).
In late May, members of the Stone Hill congregation were encouraged to identify their birthplace on a map in the Atrium. The project was all about joyful discovery: I was eager to learn more about who we are as a church. After all, in this highly mobile world, the composition of a church, especially in a “globalizing” state like New Jersey, can be quite remarkable—almost like the crowd on Pentecost in Acts 2:9–11.
The Atrium map became a fascinating picture of the composition of our church, with 227 little dots, representing close to 40% of our adult congregation, scattered all over the world. Madeline Rucker, who works in the office, turned the dots into data, and here are the results in pie chart form:
Not surprisingly, the largest segment is from North America: 63%. Asia comes next at 21%, followed by the remaining continents in a cluster: Europe, 8%; Africa, 5%; South America, 3%.
There are some interesting smaller details that don’t appear in the pie chart:
· After the mid-Atlantic states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and Connecticut, California had the most dots.
· All four extremes of Africa were represented: the north (Egypt), the west (Cameroon and Ghana), the south (South Africa), and the east (Malawi).
· Since I was born in Boston, Massachusetts, I was thrilled to see that, in addition to my dot, there were four others.
One final thought: this little project reflects larger population trends in the USA. If you want to read a fascinating discussion on that subject, check out Diversity Explosion by William H. Frey. The book might not be a summer thriller, but its analysis of the 2010 US census has lots of surprises, and leaders should be familiar with its findings. Oh, and if you have any further insights about our Stone Hill data, shoot Madeline and me an email via firstname.lastname@example.org