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Case Study: St. Paul’s Congregation

The Alley News of the Phillips Neighborhood in Minneapolis recently posted an account and explanation of St. Paul Lutheran Church’s “Notes of Growth and Change.” This looks a lot like the basic facts people would want to have about their particular churches for...
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Using Ritual to Assist in Change

An article from the York, Pennsylvania Dispatch outlined how two churches used ceremony and ritual to merge. Trinity and Fourth United Methodist churches were set to merge, but instead of a more traditional merging ceremony, the planners opted to bring in a particular ritual...
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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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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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Mission Orientation: Case Study

The Minneapolis Star Tribune posted an article about the 50th anniversary of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church moving to a new church building. Using this article as a case study of the Mission Orientation post from Wednesday, we can uncover much about this church’s...
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Lower Denominational Control: Effects of Changing Church Forms

Mark Chaves’ 2011 book, American Religion: Contemporary Trends, outlines a number of ways in which denominations have less and less control over individual congregations: 1 in 5 religious congregations in the United States are now unaffiliated (Chaves 2011). Moreover, 1 in...
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Growing Churches: Religious Vitality in Canada

A recent National Post article examines Protestant mega-congregations in Canada. Broadway Church, in Vancouver Canada, shuffles 2,000 congregants through churches on a given Sunday. The large, auditorium-esq sanctuary, modern music, and casually-dressed pastor give attenders the...
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Shrinking Churches: Attendance Declines in Canada

A recent article in the Calgary Herald outlines the attendance declines in Mainline congregations in Canada. Victor Kim, the lead minister at Grace Presbyterian Church, put it this way: Mainline Protestant churches had to stop clinging to their “past ubiquity”, he said. “We kind...
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Gender in the Pews

A recent article in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin Journal Sentinel explores the issue of gender in the pews. It outlines statistics that suggest that the average congregation is 60% female, and it’s even higher for Catholics, where 64% of members are female. There are a number...
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Strong Leaders for Effective Congregations

A recent article in The Guardian outlines the effect that Pope Francis has had on Catholic worship attendance. Researcher Massimo Introvigne, a sociologist and head of Italy’s Centre for the Study of New Religions (Cesnur), found that 51% of 250 priests he interviewed...
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