Rude Church Kicks Out All The Old People In Hopes Of Attracting Young Hep Cats
This June, the Grove United Methodist Church in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, will close its doors.
In November, it will open them back up, but they won't be welcoming back any of their current parishioners on account of how they are too old and uncool. The church is hoping to get hip young parents to join up and thinks they will start coming in as long as there aren't any old people there, olding up the place. You know, so they can all learn good Christian lessons about loving one's neighbor (except if they are old, because ew).
While the former parishioners will not be "physically barred" from coming into the new church (how nice!), they were sent a memo asking them not to come back, and suggesting that they stay away for two years and then, after that, they can consult the pastor about "reapplying." How very holy! And Christlike!
Surprisingly enough, the current parishioners actually find this a tad insulting.
Via The Pioneer Press (and not The Onion):
Officials say the church needs a reset, and reopening the church is the best way to appeal to younger people.
But the older church members say they see that as an insult.
"This is totally wrong," said Gackstetter's wife, Cheryl. "They are discriminating against us because of our age."
After the plan was explained by a visiting pastor on Jan. 5, she said, "I called him a hypocrite. I said, 'You are kicking us out of our church.' "
The head of the church, Rev. Dan Wetterstrom, who actually hired some kind of church image consultant who is an expert in starting new churches, hopes that the old parishioners won't be so rude as to show up anyway.
"We are asking them to let this happen," said Wetterstrom. "For this to be truly new, we can't have the core group of 30 people.
"The members of the church have other options. They can come to Woodbury during this phase."
Naturally, the church has asked the current parishioners to please continue mowing their lawn during this transitional period, a very normal thing to ask people you have just kicked out of your church for being too old. Oh! And money. They would also like some money, please.
"They want us to mow the lawn and shovel the snow," he said. "As if anyone would do that. This whole plan makes me sick. I believe it's evil."
Cheryl Gackstetter added: "We are supposed to be silent partners, and still give money."
She admitted that the membership was not exactly youthful.
"We are mostly 60 and up," she said. They don't want to go where they are not wanted, she said. "They want to create renewal," said church founder Baker. "I am all for renewal, but why not do it with everyone? It doesn't make a lot of sense."
It sure doesn't.
Of course, not all of the church's parishioners are over 60. There is one couple in their thirties with children, the exact demographic the church is hoping to attract. They, however, think this plan is gross and will not be coming back:
Stella and Jon Knapp of Cottage Grove were the only members with children at the service, and they say they hate the plan.
"If it happened, I wouldn't come here any more," said Stella, 34. As six-year members, the couple loves the church, and do not see how any Methodist miracle can draw in more people like them.
But did it bother them to be the youngest members at the Sunday service?
"Not at all," said Jon, 34. "This church is very kind to us and our children."
Wow! It's almost as if they are not assholes, and only assholes would go to a "No Old People Allowed (Except To Mow Our Lawn)" church.
Once, when I was in sixth grade and reading Abbie Hoffman's Steal This Book, I tried to float some "I don't trust anyone over 30!" shit past my mom and uncle, which resulted in both of them cracking up for at least an hour, followed by my mom's standard rant about how she always knew Jerry Rubin sucked and was not at all surprised when he became a Republican. After that, I stuck to trying to petition the Department of the Interior for my free buffalo. That was the first and last time I thought ageism was gonna be a good look for me, or anyone. And thank goodness — because as it turned out, I can age too.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse