Articles on Congregations
Oldline Protestantism: Pockets of Vitality Within a Continuing Stream of Decline
A working paper by David Roozen
Doing Good in American Communities: Congregations and Service Organizations Working Together
A research report from the Organizing Religious Work project and directed by Nancy T. Ammerman
Telling Congregational Stories
The 1993 H. Paul Douglass lecture by Nancy T. Ammerman, in Review of Religious Research
What God Makes Free is Free Indeed: Nondenominational Church Identity and its Networks of Support A paper presented by Scott Thumma at an annual meeting for the Religious Research Association.
The Political Frame
by Dave Roozen
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Hues in the Pews
This Christian Century article is written by John Dart, a religion reporter, and summarizes several recent surveys of multiracial congregations. It refers to studies featured on this web site and raises pertinent questions about the dynamics and prevalence of multiracial churches in the United States.
Church Realities and Christian Identity in the 21st
by Robert Wuthnow
Wuthnow proposes several causes for the deteriorating vitality of the Christian identity as it existed in the 20th century. He implores the church to take responsibility as an institution to instill ancestral tradition and therefore a strong sense of self in new generations. Wuthnow recognizes the elements of the Christian religion that have become subject to drastic change as we undergo the 21st century. He predicts that these changes will inevitably lead to the destruction of the Christian identity as we know it, unless the Church takes the appropriate actions to preserve it.
The Many Mansions of God’s House: The Religious Built
Environment as Assimilation and Differentiation
By James Hudnut-Beumler, Columbia Theological Seminary
On deciphering a potluck: The social meaning of church
by Daniel Sack, associate director of the Material History of American Religion Project
This is a historical and anthropological study that traces the development of church meals in the experience of one Protestant congregation. Sack explains how church meals reflect the shape and structure of society. These gatherings present models of and for the proper functioning of society, in terms of gender roles and relations, family structure, and the role of the church in the local community.
A Religious Vision for the 21st Century
by Earl D.C. Brewer
Earl Brewer addresses escalating global economic disparities and criticizes outstanding religious bodies whose active outreach efforts seem to have dwindled to temporary fixes in the face of disproportionate percentages of the world population in crisis situations. He proposes a theoretical analogy of Mother Earth giving birth to a united world community and her “midwives” consisting of sub-communities (local, national, scientific-economic, and religious) that will either constructively influence or hinder the birthing process. Major paradigm shifts must take place in order for the world community to become a reality. Brewer leaves us with an optimistic “vision” of a united community in which the peoples of the world would come together in peace and prosperity for the 21st century.
Congregation: Stories and Structures
by James F. Hopewell
Finding Rural Churches: Methodological and Practical Consequences of Invisibililty
by Zoey Heyer-Gray and Mary Jo Neitz
Local Religious Ecology
by Arthur E. Farnsley II, The Polis Center
An article that discusses urban ministries, focusing specifically on two urban neighborhoods.
The Clergy Job Market: What are the opportunities for ministry in the 21st century?
An article by Patricia Chang, Assistant Director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life Associate Research Professor of Sociology, Boston College.
Multiracial congregations in America: Looking for “a more realistic picture of what the world looks like”
An article by Elfriede Wedam, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago
"Several Nations Under God": Urban Space, Race, and Religion
A paper presented by Tyrone R. Simpson II, University of Virginia, at the 2002 Society for the Scientific Study of Religion Annual Conference.
Read the following research summaries for more information on congregations: