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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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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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Calling all History Buffs: Houses of Worship through Time

The University of Minnesota is working on a project focused on data on congregations of settlers in and around the Mississippi River in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The researchers Marilyn J. Chiat, Ph.D. and Jeanne Halgren Kilde, Ph.D., have created a unique resource for those...
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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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On the Horizon: Religious Competition and Creative Innovation

The USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture (CRCC) has recently embarked on a three-year project that is focused on questions related to whether, and how, competition and various elements of geographic place may lead to creative innovation and religious change within...
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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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What the Census Can Tell a Congregation

Using resources like the US Census’ county and neighborhood statistical information can be useful to better understand how your congregation fits into the broader community. Check out our overview on using census data here. After looking at your community’s census...
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Using the Census: A Case Study – Oak Park, IL & Anderson, IN

An important part of any congregational study is understanding the history and ecology of the community. These changes can involve racial or cultural changes to the community, like the example from Oak Park Illinois. Other important changes can be the growth or decline of local...
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Making a Megachurch: Hebron Baptist Church

Below is an extended quote from A Particular Place: Urban Restructuring and Religious Ecology in a Southern Exurb. The book outlines how two particular congregations grew in an area outside Atlanta. Notice how the author, Dr. Nancy Eiesland, describes the changes in the local...
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The Particular Roles of Interim Pastors

The Billings Gazette featured an article discussing interim pastors and the particular roles they play. The article begins: Billings pastors Tom Hall, Joel Westby and Aline Russell enjoy getting together once a month to chat. None of the three recent acquaintances will be in town...
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