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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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The Spirit’s Tether: Family, Work and Religion among American Catholics

My recent book The Spirit’s Tether: Family, Work and Religion among American Catholics, was the product of a comparative ethnographic project which began with the simple question:  Why are contemporary conflicts about the family—such as abortion, women’s social roles, same-sex...
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The Introduction of Newcomers

The people who make up a congregation changes regularly — new babies are born, individuals and families move in and out of the community, and members die. Membership in religious organizations in the United States is a voluntary activity, and one that is the matter of...
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Whitebread Protestants – Social Food to Create Community

Chapter 2 of Whitebread Protestants: Food and Religion in American Culture by Daniel Sack focuses on food as a central mode of community organizing within America’s churches. He argues that “Americans go to church for more than teaching and prayer. They go looking for...
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