Alert readers might have noticed an unusual ad running recently in the Mountaintop Eagle.
“Do you know 10 things God is going to ask you? Take God’s Quiz today,” it reads.
The rest is a web address and contact information for St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church.
God’s Quiz? What’s that all about?
Bob Beu, a St. Martin’s vestry member, notes it’s not really a new idea. In fact, if you go to the church’s Web address to take God’s Quiz for yourself, you’ll find out that the questions are attributed to “Author Unknown” because these same questions –and variations on them –have been floating around on the Web and in other reading material for years.
They’re meant to provoke reflection. For instance, the page says God “won’t ask you what kind of car you drove. He will ask you how many people you gave a ride to that didn’t have transportation.”
The church, located on Church Road in Rice Township, revamped its Website in time to celebrate its 90th anniversary in April. Beu, who has retired from a career in marketing and advertising, developed the content, including proposing the “God’s Quiz” section.
The web address is now stmartintimeless.org:“timeless” because “St. Martin’s was founded by a group of young couples who were all from various backgrounds and faiths,” Beu said. “Its foundational decree is that everyone’s welcome. That’s a timeless decree of ours that was born 90 years ago.”
Senior Warden Don Herres noted that church websites are often designed for people who are already members rather than with an eye toward inviting new people to attend. When St. Martin’s decided on a redesign, it was for the purpose of making the site friendly to people who aren’t yet familiar with the church.
“We are considered a very modern and inclusive church,” Beu said. “We’re very accepting and tolerant.” He referenced a message the church’s rector, Rev. Daniel FitzSimmons, wrote for the Website, which states that the church recognizes “divorce and the remarriage of divorced people, LGBTQ equality, male and female clergy, single or married, and a Eucharist open to all baptized persons, regardless of their faith background.”
The “God’s Quiz” section, and the website as a whole, are meant to “make people feel more comfortable with both God and our church,” Beu said. The quiz makes “the whole notion of God less foreboding. We want to make it easier and more comfortable for people to begin or strengthen their relationship with God.
“If and when people are ready to consider going to church, we would like them to try us,” he said.
The ad does appear to have increased traffic on the site, Beu noted.
Beu himself moved to Mountain Top about five years ago but didn’t start attending St. Martin’s until about a year ago. He frequently drove past the church, and one day he asked his son, “Why don’t we try going there?” His son agreed, and when they arrived, they “found it to be very comfortable. The service was easy to follow, and the people were very welcoming,” Beu said. “We’ve gone every Sunday since.”
Through the ads and the Website, Beu hopes to light the same spark in others, encouraging them to try St. Martin’s. People often worry about whether they’ll fit in or follow the protocols properly. Beu wants the website to convey that they don’thave to worry.
“We want to make the concept ofGod approachable and nonthreateningfor people in the context of everydaylife. He is still timeless and relevanttoday.”