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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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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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Discomfort in the Pews: Working With Multiethnic Congregations

Corey Widmer wrote an interesting piece at Christianity Today about his work within a multiethnic congregation in Richmond, VA. He outlines some of the unique situations he and the other congregational leaders and members encountered in attempting to bridge ethnic divides:...
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Changes in the Mass: Institutions and Church Cultures

The Vatican recently announced changes to the way individuals should express signs of peace during mass. From an article from the Religious News Service: In an effort to insure a more sober ritual, the Vatican has urged bishops to clamp down on singing, moving around and other...
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New Research: Religion as Social Support

All around us, we face requests for help. Colleagues may ask us for advice, friends may need a listening ear, a social service organization may be raising funds or looking for more volunteers, and an elderly family member may need our care. Social scientists have found that...
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The Shared Parish: Latinos, Anglos, and the Future of U.S. Catholicism — A Book Overview

As faith communities in the United States grow increasingly more diverse, many churches are turning to the shared parish, a single church facility shared by distinct cultural groups who retain their own worship and ministries. The fastest growing and most common of these are...
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Church Search Committees: Look Here!

Marion Aldridge at abpnews examines the issue of conflicting congregational identity in his latest commentary. He writes, Nowadays, I see a lot of confused churches. They don’t know who they are. Confused congregations often call confused pastors. That is a disaster. Or, just as...
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The Reality Behind “Spiritual But Not Religious”

Question: I hear a lot about people being “spiritual, but not religious.” What does that mean? “I’m spiritual, but I’m not religious” is a common refrain in contemporary conversations.  Many people seem eager to claim a connection with...
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Congregationalism in American Churches: A Reaction by R. Stephen Warner

The focus of this site is the study of congregations, understood in the most basic sense as local religious assemblies. But concepts of “the congregation,” “congregational,” and “congregationalism” have both more precise and more contested meanings. As a form of “church polity,”...
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Framing Congregations: Redemption through a Visitor’s Lens

NPR featured a story about a Washington Post reporter who simultaneously reported on drug crimes while being addicted to heroin while living in Washington D.C. in the 1980s and 1990s. From the article: In a new book, S Street Rising, Castaneda writes that S Street was once an...
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