As Marc expresses, the existence of the Church is not an excuse for something else to happen (he’s written what I’ve been wanting to write, on a different register). There can be no chill about the raison d’être, and any other purposes people dream up are mere interpolations.
Remember, O Israel, the call of thy covenants.
And now, with neither Jew nor Greek, all that binds thee – nothing else: not thoughts, not wishes, not commonalities – is the blood of one Lamb, which you drink together at his Table. I myself am bothered by the idea of niche churches that cater to a sector of the population. In The Screwtape Letters, one devil writes to another (HT: Scott Schultz):
You mentioned casually in your last letter that the patient has continued to attend one church, and one only, since he was converted, and that he is not wholly pleased with it? Why have I no report on the causes of his fidelity to the parish church? Do you realize that unless it is due to indifference it is a very bad thing? Surely you know that if a man can’t be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighborhood looking for the church that ‘suits’ him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches.
The reasons are obvious. In the first place the parochial organisation should always be attacked, because, being a unity of place and not of likings, it brings people of different classes and psychology together in the kind of unity the Enemy desires. The congregational principle, on the other hand, makes each church into a kind of club, and finally, if all goes well, into a coterie or faction.
Nothing should disguise the purpose of gathering, nor should anything detract from the glory of the One in whom they gather. If the consumer society swallows this too, we shall all die.