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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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Changes in the Mass: Institutions and Church Cultures

The Vatican recently announced changes to the way individuals should express signs of peace during mass. From an article from the Religious News Service: In an effort to insure a more sober ritual, the Vatican has urged bishops to clamp down on singing, moving around and other...
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Beyond the “People”: The Stories Congregational Buildings Tell by Nancy Ammerman

Two stories this week have me thinking about that old children’s finger play – “Here’s the church, here’s the steeple, open the doors and see all the people.”  Congregations certainly are “the people.”  But most are also the building and all the “stuff” they accumulate. Lots of...
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Organized Religion and the Rise of the ‘Nones’

Rabbi Eric Yoffie published a commentary on Huffington Post outlining what he sees as an over-exaggeration of the impact of the rising number of people — particularly young people — who report having no religious affiliation. Rabbi Yaffie explains that many American...
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Changing Roles of Congregational Leaders: Management Skills

David Gibson at the Religion News Service describes the changing roles of Catholic priests in the parish. He outlines the role priests must take in a parish’s finances, human resources, facilities, and security. He writes, Once upon a time, the parish staff usually...
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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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Language, Culture, and Congregations

The Huffington Post posted an article outlining the complications historically Spanish-speaking congregations have in adapting to new English-speaking generations. For many of these second- and third-generation immigrants, their religious lives were tied to their second language,...
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PBS Special: Endangered Churches as Resources for the Community

PBS recently posted a Religion & Ethics Newsweekly report on closing churches in Philadelphia. Below are selected quotes from the transcript: SAUL GONZALEZ, correspondent: Philadelphia is a city rich in landmarks, from independence hall, to the Ben Franklin Parkway, to its...
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Doubt in the Pulpit: How to Handle Tough Questions

New York City’s Riverside Church has a new pastor, Rev. Amy Butler, is not new to conflict and difficult discussions. From the article from the Washington Post, she is open about her struggles with faith and God, even while she has led a congregation. From the article, A...
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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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