The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

March 31, 2013

Smaller churches stay true to tradition

DANVILLE — At the 147-year-old Church of the Holy Trinity, tradition reigns.

“People come and worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness,” said the Very Rev. Geoffrey Scanlon, who has been rector at the Episcopalian church for 25 years. “This place feels prayed in.”

Hundreds of people have made the place holy by their presence since the church was built in 1866, he said. “They have come and worshipped and brought their joys and sorrows. That is exciting to me.”

In a changing world, people like tradition — something solid. “The only thing that’s stable is coming to church on Sunday,” he said.

The people in his congregation like the tradition; they like knowing what to expect, and they’re not distracted by technology.

In fact, a microphone is the only sign of technology in the sanctuary.

“We’d rather spend the money on people’s needs than a flashy website,” Scanlon said.

Instead of having its own website, the Danville church piggybacks off the diocesan site — http://www.episcopalspringfield.org/.

It does have a Facebook page — http://www.facebook.com/HolyTrinityChurchDanville — which Scanlon updates every day with scriptures, prayers, saint days, events and other information. It gets a lot of hits.

While he doesn’t use Facebook for personal use, Scanlon likes it for the church as it keeps people informed and connected.

Like most pastors, Scanlon wants cell phones turned off during services, saying, “We’re here in the beauty of holiness; why disturb that with outside chatter?”

Instead, people need to be connected to the real person — Lord Jesus — during the service, and need to focus on that, rather than outside matters.

In fact, a sign, written in calligraphy, just inside the church says: “This is God’s house. Be silent in it lest he speak to thee and not be heard above the noise of thy chatter.”

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