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    August 13, 2008


    Chris VanHaight

    Attend any church potluck supper, parish picnic, or simply coffee and donuts after mass and you can definitely see how churches are indeed "third places." But the local bishop can't simply go to the priest-tree and pick one off a branch to staff a parish, nor ask the magic goose to lay another golden egg to pay for fixing the cracked foundation of a hundred year old building that is used by less than a hundred people on any given Sunday. The Church has always experienced fluctuations, with growth in some places, decline in others. Just compare two dioceses in Africa: Hippo (St. Augustine's diocese, now existing in name only) and Lagos (in Nigeria, experiencing dramatic growth).

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