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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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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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Membership Decline: Facing the Real Issue

Christianity Today is highlighting the plight of rural vicars in congregations in England. Churches are declining, and vicars are filling multiple pulpits. The article goes on to explain in detail implications of declining congregations — pastors are pulled thin between...
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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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Examining a Jewish Enclave: Ecology and Resources

Michelle Boorstein at The Washington Post wrote an article about a small Jewish community in Western Maryland. Cumberland Maryland had been a Jewish enclave in the Appalachian Mountains, with four synagogues and many Jewish-owned stores and businesses. But now the Jewish...
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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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Different Needs: Urban and Suburban Congregations

The Houston Chronicle published a piece outlining the multi-site, First Methodist Church in Houston. One location is in the suburbs, whereas the other location is downtown Houston. The United Methodist Reporter outlines some of the differences between the communities: “It will be...
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