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Maintaining Boundaries: The Process of Enforcing Expectations

New members to any group need to learn the unspoken rules and norms of the community. A newcomer may lack the history and understanding of “the way things are done here,” and may make embarrassing mistakes and missteps within the...
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Building Your Community: The Process of Assimilation

One important aspect of your congregation is recognizing the boundaries of who is included versus those who aren’t. A key way to understand the way the community is built is by examining the processes of assimilation — how are people...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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:...
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