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Local church studies ways to stay relevant

Continuing in the tradition of serving the Park Rapids area, Riverside United Methodist Church is engaged in an extensive exploration of the strengths and the difficulties of the area, according to Rev. Don Day.

Members of the congregation conducted structured interviews with civic leaders. Interviews with persons in the field of medicine, government, law enforcement, retail business, education, social services, industry and veteran services were of great help, Day said.

Throughout the interviews an ongoing appreciation of the vitality of the area there was expressed. But there was also a recognition of needs not being addressed.

The potential for involvement by the churches of Park Rapids was frequently emphasized, Day said.

In December the Riverside congregation is advancing the study of Park Rapids by canvassing homes.

On Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 10, 11, 17 and 18, members will knock on doors to receive home dwellers' thoughts as to how churches can be of help to the residents of Park Rapids. The interviews will be brief.

The self-study is part of a pilot project of the United Methodist Church to identify how churches can increase their relevancy. The insights gained in the next 12 months, evaluation and implementation will be shared with other United Methodist churches.