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How to Read Social Science Papers

Maybe you’ve found a great quantitative social science journal article that seems interesting, but the structure and language is perhaps difficult or overwhelming. Below are some general strategies and commonly used vocabulary that should make the process easier. The guide...
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How to Ask a Congregation: Surveys and Questionnaires

Are you interested in knowing more about your local congregation, but don’t know how to start? We’ve got some resources for you. First, you need to figure out what you’re interested in knowing. You may want to know what time is best for Worship versus...
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4 Ways to Reconsider Your Congregation

We talk a lot on studyingcongregations.org about Frames for Studying Congregations. We use the word “frame” to mean ways to organize thoughts around the topic of studying congregation — you could also think of it as a lens or an orienting strategy. You might be...
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Ordaining Women: Results from the National Congregations Study

The Huffington Post published an article about the role of women in clergy roles in the United States, looking at data from the most recent wave of the National Congregations Survey. One of the most interesting parts is interactive graphic timeline examining when women were first...
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Examining a Jewish Enclave: Ecology and Resources

Michelle Boorstein at The Washington Post wrote an article about a small Jewish community in Western Maryland. Cumberland Maryland had been a Jewish enclave in the Appalachian Mountains, with four synagogues and many Jewish-owned stores and businesses. But now the Jewish...
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Developing the Role of Laity in Catholic Churches: Plans and Goals

The Catholic Archbishop of southeastern Wisconsin, Jerome Listecki, issued a declaration shifting priorities within the archdiocese, according to an article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The declaration states that local bishops will work to support social justice issues...
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No One Should Have To Do This Alone!

The UCC blog, carducc.wordpress.com, posted a blog entry from Gail Cafferata, a researcher examining issues of closing congregations. She examines the role of emotional support on pastors closing congregations. I asked a pastor about her experience serving a church that had...
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New Research in Congregations: National Congregations Study, Wave 3

The results from the latest version of the National Congregations Study are now available. The National Congregations Study (NCS) covers many topics, so their article  limits the discussion of the changing religious landscape on five issues: “more ethnic diversity, more...
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Taking Time: Understanding Ministry as a Long-Term Process

The Huffington Post recently published an article about Shobi’s Table. The article discusses a number of aspects of the new Food Truck ministry in St. Paul, Minnesota. It highlights some aspects of Lutheran theology, the changing views of the ELCA denomination, focusing...
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New Rec Room Has Everything A Teen Could Want, Reports Church Youth Pastor: A Satire

The Onion, a satirical newspaper, posted a story about a congregation’s “rec room.” The story walks the line between obvious joke and deadpan humor, to the degree that if it hadn’t been posted on The Onion’s website, would have maybe seemed like a...
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