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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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From the Archives: “Building Your Community: The Process of Assimilation”

One important aspect of your congregation is recognizing the boundaries of who is included versus those who aren’t. A key way to understand the way the community is built is by examining the processes of assimilation — how are people brought into the community?...
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From the Archives: “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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From the Archives: “Implicit Assumptions and Expectations: Spell Them Out”

Many religious leaders struggle with fitting into new congregations. Congregants may have implicit assumptions and expectations of the new leader — whether it’s what day the leader takes off, to how frequently he visits those who are homebound, to preaching or...
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