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The Practicalities of Change: Racial Integration in a South African Church By Marthe Hesselmans

In South Africa churches may be among the last bastions of apartheid, but some churchgoers are crossing racial lines, for the sake of survival.   Philippolis is a small farm town far away from everything. Far from the city and the government,...
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Thinking about Conflict

The recent General Assembly of the United Methodist Church has resulted in much soul-searching and debate – and it raises the possibility that some local congregations may encounter conflict as they decide how to move forward. Nancy Ammerman has...
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Competition in the Neighborhood? By Mark T. Mulder, Calvin College

Why would a church ask a departing pastor to sign a non-compete agreement? In December 2018, World magazine, a touchstone periodical for a conservative swath of the evangelical world in the United States, published an exposé on leadership issues...
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The Bittersweet Reality of Multiracial Churches by Korie L. Edwards

Multiracial congregations are all the rage, it seems, at least among Protestants. Conferences are being held across the country encouraging pastors and other religious leaders to be multiethnic, and groups like Mosaix and Kainos have been...
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Where are the children with chronic health conditions and their families? By Andrew Whitehead

  Most congregations pride themselves on being open and welcoming to newcomers. They might station greeters at the doors. Some offer small gifts in the lobby for those who are visiting. Others might ask for contact information in order to...
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Ecclesiology and Ethnography – Do They Go Together?

Without the fancy words, that is to say, “What does observing and analyzing ordinary church life – studying congregations – have to do with thinking theologically about what church life means?” About a decade ago, Professor Pete Ward, from...
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What to do about the building

A recent article in The Atlantic proclaimed ”an epidemic of empty churches.” And the very same week the Washington Post asked, ”Does a religious community need its own building to flourish?” Both authors pointed to the reality that buildings are...
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Who is Your Neighbor? Who Decides?

Immigration has become one of the most difficult issues facing people throughout Europe and North America. And congregations are on the front lines in many ways. Whether offering services to immigrants and refugees once they arrive or protecting...
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Finding Resources in Unexpected Places

Mike Mather has spent most of his adult life pastoring churches in neighborhoods most people would call ”deprived.”  Not Mike.  When he greets someone at the food pantry or on the street, he’s more apt to see their gifts than their ”needs.” And...
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