OTTAWA, KS—According to sources, local Presbyterian Church (USA) minister Reverend Michael Bernstein has been preaching to a completely empty building since sometime in the fall of 1993, when the last remaining church member officially left the congregation.
“No one’s had the heart to tell him,” his wife Jenna told reporters. “Me and the kids stopped attending in the late ’80s, when it became clear that it was turning into some sort of feel-good social club.”
But last Sunday, a visiting relative stopped in to catch Bernstein’s sermon and was reportedly bewildered to find the pastor singing hymns entirely by himself, preaching an inspirational message to absolutely nobody, and wishing everyone well before standing in the door and shaking hands with the entire church body of zero people.
The relative then broke the news to Bernstein that his church hasn’t had a single member in over twenty years.
“He’s taking it pretty well so far,” the relative told reporters. “He actually seemed pretty relieved that he doesn’t have to pretend to believe in God or the Bible anymore.”
At publishing time, Bernstein had applied for a pastoral position at a local United Methodist congregation, but hadn’t received a response as no one had been in the building for well over a decade, according to sources.