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Beyond the “People”: The Stories Congregational Buildings Tell by Nancy Ammerman

Two stories back in 2014 had 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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Thinking about How We Gather

In recent years, many people have wondered whether new forms of religious gathering might be replacing traditional gatherings like congregations. As the nonaffiliates – better known as “nones” – become an increasing share of the U.S. population, there is every reason to suggest...
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Seeing and Staying – Rural Congregations and Rural Communities

Many students of congregational life focus their attention on religious gatherings in the city. It’s where the action is! Where there are exciting challenges and new opportunities. Where your innovations will get noticed and rewarded. But what about the thousands of gatherings in...
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What to do about the building

A recent article in The Atlantic proclaimed ”an epidemic of empty churches.” And the very same week the Washington Post asked, ”Does a religious community need its own building to flourish?” Both authors pointed to the reality that buildings are often a problem, and finding the...
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Who is Your Neighbor? Who Decides?

Immigration has become one of the most difficult issues facing people throughout Europe and North America. And congregations are on the front lines in many ways. Whether offering services to immigrants and refugees once they arrive or protecting those facing deportation, being...
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