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PBS Special: Endangered Churches as Resources for the Community

PBS recently posted a Religion & Ethics Newsweekly report on closing churches in Philadelphia. Below are selected quotes from the transcript: SAUL GONZALEZ, correspondent: Philadelphia is a city rich in landmarks, from independence hall, to the Ben Franklin Parkway, to its...
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Faith on the Avenue: Book Overview

If you haven’t yet, pick up a copy of Katie Day’s Faith on the Avenue. It’s an interesting look at religion on one long street — Germantown Avenue — in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She looks at the role of community ecology on religious organizations...
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St. Lydia’s Dinner Church

St. Lydia’s Dinner Church, in Brooklyn New York, is a different type of church. They gather on Sundays and Mondays to “cook and share a sacred meal, just as the followers of Jesus did.” From their website: We eat, explore scripture, offer prayers, and sing...
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Doubt in the Pulpit: How to Handle Tough Questions

New York City’s Riverside Church has a new pastor, Rev. Amy Butler, is not new to conflict and difficult discussions. From the article from the Washington Post, she is open about her struggles with faith and God, even while she has led a congregation. From the article, A...
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Case Study: St. Paul’s Congregation

The Alley News of the Phillips Neighborhood in Minneapolis recently posted an account and explanation of St. Paul Lutheran Church’s “Notes of Growth and Change.” This looks a lot like the basic facts people would want to have about their particular churches for...
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A View of Your Neighborhood: A Walking Tour

One of the best ways to get a feel for the community around your congregation is to walk the streets. Now that it’s getting warmer, I took a walk around my neighborhood in Somerville MA, and here’s some of the things I found: There are shopping areas —
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Using the Census: A Case Study – Oak Park, IL & Anderson, IN

An important part of any congregational study is understanding the history and ecology of the community. These changes can involve racial or cultural changes to the community, like the example from Oak Park Illinois. Other important changes can be the growth or decline of local...
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Making a Megachurch: Hebron Baptist Church

Below is an extended quote from A Particular Place: Urban Restructuring and Religious Ecology in a Southern Exurb. The book outlines how two particular congregations grew in an area outside Atlanta. Notice how the author, Dr. Nancy Eiesland, describes the changes in the local...
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The Particular Roles of Interim Pastors

The Billings Gazette featured an article discussing interim pastors and the particular roles they play. The article begins: Billings pastors Tom Hall, Joel Westby and Aline Russell enjoy getting together once a month to chat. None of the three recent acquaintances will be in town...
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Engaged Scholar Ria Van Ryn: Interfaith Experiences, Individual Growth

The blog post below is written by current Congregational Studies’ Team Engaged Scholar Ria Van Ryn for her college newspaper. ——————————— In a recent article in the Observer Rachel Renz defends her decisions...
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