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Before the Disaster Strikes

As disasters strike – all too often, it seems – we often see churches, synagogues and mosques in the news. They may be shelters or food distribution centers or coordinators of volunteers or places to comfort and grieve. As the most ubiquitous form of voluntary organization in the...
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Spring into the Neighborhood: Walking Tour

Spring has finally arrived! Spring is a time for cleaning and airing out old, winterized spaces, and providing room for growth and renewal. Congregations can and should take the cue from the warming temperatures to look for avenues of growth and renewal within itself. One method...
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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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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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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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Gentrification in LA: From the Religion and Civic Culture Blog

Check out the recent post from the Religion and Civic Culture blog on gentrification in the Los Feliz neighborhood of LA: Last week I took a walk on the gentrifying edge of Los Feliz with the pastor of a local church that mainly ministers to the down-and-out. We talked about the...
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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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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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Method to Try: Congregational Timeline

From Congregational Timelines: One powerful method for better understanding the shared oral history of a congregation is through a Congregational Timeline. This historical look at the space and place of the congregation, and the congregants in the discussion, helps to locate the...
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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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