Editors note: The Des Moines Register recently featured an article about the decline in church attendance in rural Iowa. While we may not agree with all of the conclusions made by the Des Moines Register, we think that this is an important article to share with our readers.
Bloomfield one of many small towns where residents find other things to do on Sundays.
By Mike Kilen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Clerk Julie Miller neither rests nor spends her time in holy observance on Sunday, a day some Christians call the Sabbath.
She rips off lottery tickets and rings up coffees at Route 63 Quik Stop in Bloomfield. Convenience stores are more popular gathering places in small Iowa towns than churches, according to a recent study.
Miller, 48, doesn’t go to church because she’s working. Also, because “it’s something I don’t need to do,” she said.
Julie Miller, 47 of Drakesville, left, works at the
Julie Miller, 47 of Drakesville, left, works at the Route 63 Quik Stop in Bloomfield on Wednesday, October 21, 2015.
(Photo: Brian Powers/The Register)
“I’ve seen them up there in church, screaming and hollering. I was raised up in the country, where they talk and don’t scream. But I look at it this way. I’m in the country. I can talk to God anywhere. I’m out on a walk, no people around, and God is out there all around me.”
It is 8 a.m. on a fall Sunday. Pickups roll into the lot, and customers enter to buy doughnuts. Two older gentlemen sit in a booth drinking coffee and say they don’t go to church anymore. One got divorced, and the ex-wife had always led the way there. The other said he was steering clear of church hypocrisy.
Bloomfield is not a godless town. In fact, it has at least a dozen churches, although they’re in various measures of struggle. But it serves as one example of how the decline in Christianity is playing out, even in small-town Iowa.