A Genealogue Exclusive [What's That?]Attendance at the Brookhaven Trinity Church in rural Vermont hit an all-time low last spring, with only ten congregants showing up on Palm Sunday. But these days the pews are packed, thanks to the clever marketing strategy of Pastor David Lombard.
"I got to thinking, 'What will bring people back to the church? What are the services lacking?' Then I read how hugely popular genealogy is. That's when I had my brainstorm."
Since May, the pastor's sermons have been full of genealogy—so much genealogy, in fact, that he rarely has time for anything else.
"We've cut out the benediction and the hymns so we can have more time for the 'begats,'" Lombard says. "People love the 'begats'!"
This was evident on a recent Sunday when Lombard reprised his personal favorite: Genesis, Chapter 11. As he read from the Biblical genealogy—"And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram's wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah"—parishioners scribbled on the family group sheets tucked into their disused hymnals.
Critics say that Pastor Lombard is indulging "hobbyists," and overemphasizing one part of the Bible to the detriment of others that are far more important. But Lombard says he is sure of the path he has chosen.
"It's obvious to me that God wants this 'hobby' discussed in church. That's why the Bible says so much about genealogy, and nothing about collecting stamps."