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Lent & Ramadan under the Same Roof

“Calling ISIS ‘Muslim’ is like going to KFC, sitting down to eat a bucket of chicken, and calling yourself a ‘vegetarian’.” This protest against the way Islam is portrayed in Western media was but one of the insights I gained while conducting congregational studies in a church...
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Pop-Up Shabbat: A Dinner Community Case Study

Pop-Up Shabbat  is a pop-up restaurant inspired by Jewish culture and tradition in Brooklyn, NY. Each gathering lasts 3-4 hours and includes “slightly socially engineered mingling, family-style dining, music (yes, sometimes dancing), and a bit of Shabbat tradition.” Numbers are...
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When Congregation-Based Activism Is…Complicated

Though most conservative Christian organizations, denominations, and congregations have abandoned explicitly homophobic rhetoric in their arguments against gay rights in their effort to craft a politically viable position, others have increased the volume (and, through social...
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Marti’s Latest Research Explores Latino Protestant Congregations

The Latino Protestant Congregations (LPC) Project, directed by Dr. Mark Mulder and Congregational Studies Team member Dr. Gerardo Marti, is a team-based examination of Latino Protestants in the U.S. This project is a close look at a large gap in the current literature, to explore...
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Faith and Political Engagement: Latina/o Protestants At the Intersection

From the outside, Allen Temple Ministerios Hispanos (ATMH) is unimposing. Located deep in poverty-stricken East Oakland California, ATMH’s neighbors include two fellow protestant churches, a bar and a liquor store. It’s the week before Thanksgiving. Inside the Baptist church,...
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Catholicism in the Castro: Parish Life in Context

The National Catholic Reporter published a five-part series on San Francisco’s Most Holy Redeemer Church, focusing on its open and inclusive relationship with the community. Up to eighty percent of its population is LGBT. Most Holy Redeemer draws broadly from across the San...
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Refocus the Conversation: About “Attracting Families”

Is your congregation attempting to reach out to “young families?” Jan Edmiston works at the Presbytery of Chicago and has a personal blog at at achurchforstarvingartists.wordpress.org. Below is part of a recent post on the topic: Almost every church I’ve ever known...
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#Ashtag and Sharing Religion on Social Networks

Look at all these priests sharing #ashtag selfies today http://t.co/BHXVI0H5qH pic.twitter.com/fX1USKhs39 — Mashable (@mashable) February 18, 2015 Ash Wednesday marks the start of the Christian period of Lent. Christians often receive a sign of the cross in ashes on their...
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Pay What You Want: An Examination of Dues

The New York Times posted an article about the changing sources of income for some synagogues. Rather than requiring membership dues based on family size, age, or income, some synagogues are now asking people to voluntarily pledge money to the congregation. How congregations...
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Death in Declining Congregations: A Case Study

More and more congregations within the United States are declining, and with that decline come church closures. In my dissertation research, I examined two small congregations. Fellowship United Methodist Church (which is a pseudonym, along with all other names used in this post)...
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