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Church Life
At Forlorn Urban Churches, Mass Gets Crowded in a Flash
The latest trend in Rust Belt Catholicism, the Mass mob, is bringing thousands of suburban Catholics to visit the struggling urban churches of their parents and grandparents. (The New York Times)
Interactive Chart of Decades-old Usher Hand Signals
Church ushers still use the "National Silent Uniform System", developed in the 1940s, to communicate with each other during church services. (NYT)
Church ushers use hand signal codes
Ushers use hand signals that were developed in the 1940s and are still used and taught at a convention.
Christian Post interviews Elevation Church about spontaneous baptisms
"So when we do them (baptisms), the tanks are all outside, the changing areas are all outside, we rent huge tents, people don't know where to go so we've gotta have volunteers to lead the way so that people know which direction to go." (Christian Post)
Church 'is on the brink of extinction': Ex-Archbishop George Carey warns of Christianity crisis
Former head of Church of England warns it could be just one generation away from extinction (The Daily Mail)
NYT talks to Sarah Young
Sarah Young defends her books using Jesus in the first person.
Churches Take a Stand on Pews, Replacing Them With Chairs
Congregations see shift as versatile, modern; Asking unchurched youths to have a seat (The Wall Street Journal)
New trend: pastors working for free
Some see unpaid pastors as the future of the church.
Holyoke police investigating armed robbery at church service
Police are investigating an armed robbery during which a masked man interrupted a church service to steal from the worshipers. (The Republican, Mass.)
Back to church Sunday draws 21,000 churches
Back to Church Sunday, happening Sept. 15, is continuing to gain national momentum.
  • Race, relevancy among challenges facing black Baptist leaders
    Recent shootings of black men present challenges to new leaders of four of the nation’s largest African-American Baptist denominations, which observers say must become champions for racial reforms in America.
    How Church Sales Reflect the Shifting American Demographic
    Beyond the Christian faith, immigration is shaping the religious landscape of America and influencing the church purchasing process. (The Atlantic)
    End of Elite Denominational Headquarters
    Once upon a time, from the UUA on down, “Headquarters” buildings were statements of power: “Look! We are important! ‘Notice us!’” But just as cathedrals don’t tower in an age of skyscrapers, so impressive-looking headquarters no longer draw notice. And “secularization” is only part of the reason for this change. (The University of Chicago Divinity School)
  • At Forlorn Urban Churches, Mass Gets Crowded in a Flash
    The latest trend in Rust Belt Catholicism, the Mass mob, is bringing thousands of suburban Catholics to visit the struggling urban churches of their parents and grandparents. (The New York Times)
    What Part of 'the Right to Organize' Don't Some Religious Institutions Understand? | America Magazine
    Adjuncts have successfully formed unions at Catholic schools like Georgetown, Le Moyne and St. Francis College in Brooklyn. But in other cases, the willful misuse of religious freedom — an area of law that Catholic leaders have lately sought to extend on matters of conscience — is very much akin to the behavior of GTS’s trustees. Union-busting is no more an exercise of religious freedom than a walkout is a resignation, and everyone knows it.
    Will the Church Stop Shaming People Who 'Live in Sin'? - The Atlantic
    But with or without substantive doctrinal changes, this intervention—one that reporters admittedly still have limited information about—suggests there's a softer postural debate happening alongside the pastoral debate. The Church may still consider it a sin to have sex before marriage, but leaders can change the way they talk about it—lighter on the shame, heavier on the spiritual guidance.
  • Foreclosure case filed against Family Christian Center pastor
    Only a few months after reports that Indiana's largest megachurch was digging itself out of a financial hole, Family Christian Church Senior Pastor Steve Munsey and his wife face a foreclosure action against the home they've attempted to sell...Last year, a Times investigation revealed Family Christian Center had been spending millions annually on leadership compensation, travel, meals, and jet fuel, yet fell behind on mortgage payments and racked up a list of past-due bills.
    Lawsuit filed in family battle over Orange County megachurch |
    The family of Pastor Chuck Smith is embroiled in a legal battle over control his Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa megachurch. His daughter has filed suit alleging elder abuse and neglect when Smith died.
    Megachurch With a Beat Lures a Young Flock - New York Times
    The church, Hillsong, has become a phenomenon, capitalizing on, and in some cases shaping, trends not only in evangelicalism but also in Christian youth culture. Its success would be rare enough at a time when religion is struggling in a secularizing Europe and North America. But Hillsong is even more remarkable because its target is young Christians in big cities, where faith seems out of fashion but where its services are packing them in.
  • Conservative reach
    Conservative Anabaptists from across North America gathered for the first time at a ministry conference a month ago in a meeting seen by some as an indication of growing unity. (MWR)
    UMC launches new ecumenical, interfaith office
    On any given Sunday, more Christians are attending worship services in China than in the United States or Europe. That is one indicator of the challenges presented by a changing world of ecumenism as the United Methodist Church reorganizes how it addresses issues of Christian unity and relationships with other faiths. (UM Reporter)
    Brutal Presbyterian Disunity
    Anglicans get plenty of well-deserved attention for their efforts at disunity, but Presbyterians at least deserve an honorary mention in this game.
  • How Clergy In Ferguson Succeeded Where The Police Failed
    To some extent, the police and the clergy at the protests have an overlapping mission: to keep the gathering peaceful. For clergy, that has meant speaking with protesters who become agitated until they calm down. It has meant acting as intermediaries between the crowds and police. At times, it has meant doing crowd control and helping keep people within designated areas.
    Higher Calling, Lower Wages: The Vanishing of the Middle-Class Clergy
    As full-time pastors become a thing of the past, more and more seminary grads are taking on secular jobs to supplement their incomes. (The Atlantic)
    Maronite Christians struggle to define their identity in Israel
    Lebanese citizens are banned from visiting Israel because the two countries are technically at war, but clergy of the Maronite church are exempt. (Public Radio International)
Was Driscoll's Board a Problem?
Was Driscoll's Board a Problem?
Outside Insight: Some say it’s the new norm. Others don’t consider it biblical.
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