observation from the clerk:
old people give up on their home churches when they get sick, go to the hospital, then spend a lot of time recovering at home and
nobody comes to visit them, nobody calls, nobody sends a card, nobody lets them know that they are missed.
they look at the church down the block and think "i can get there. it's close." they visit. they try to plug in. it's very, very important that they plug in. they need this community, they need these congregants to like them, to know them, to miss them when they are not present.
it's more than just another old person wanting to be loved. it's a matter of survival: they need someone to take them to their doctor appointments, to bring them food when they can't cook, to shop when they can't shop.
they would gladly jump through the hoops, attend the required classes, sign the right papers, write the right letters of transfer, but hey, they've got other things on their minds. important things like finding a ride to the doctor and conserving enough energy to handle going to a worship service on sunday morning.
they would also gladly give money...if they could. but they can't: every penny goes to rent, food, prescription medicines, co-pays.
it's a tough call for a church which has to pay a per-capita fee on its membership. potential members are a liability if they don't cough up the dough.