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A New Statue to Symbolize a Common Culture

Merging congregations involves combining each groups sets of congregational identities, histories, narratives, and symbols. A recent article from The Greenfield Massachusetts Recorder examines one way a recently-merged Catholic congregation attempted to create a shared identity....
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Eyeing the Budget: Content Analysis of Priorities

When you’re having a problem within your congregation, you should 1) figure out a research question, 2) then determine the best way to examine the question using a variety of research tools, and 3) examine the data from a variety of perspectives or frames. We talk a lot...
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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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