Potpourri

It’s been a busy season in our office, and we don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. In the midst of this busyness, however, I’ve been seeing some interesting research and statistics emerge on a number of topics. Instead of offering labored commentaries on each piece, I thought I’d simply share some of these resources. They can be used for sermons or church / conference newsletters, as discussion points for various gatherings in which you may find yourself, or simply for personal knowledge. Enjoy!

 “Faith in Equality: Economic Justice and the Future of Religious Progressives”, a report released this spring from The Brookings Institution, details the challenges and opportunities religiously-affiliated progressives face in building a movement for economic justice.

Same-Sex Marriage: Public Opinion and State-by-State Laws, an updated infographic slideshow from the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project, offers a detailed look at changing opinions in the U.S. on same-sex marriage over time, including differences by generation, religious group, political party, gender, and race. There is also an updated interactive map cataloging the changes in state same-sex marriage laws since 1995.

– “Moving Toward Church Multiplication Movements: How Multiplication Can Be Enhanced through Denominational Backing” is a blog article by Ed Stetzer that was published this spring by Christianity Today. While this magazine is not as theologically progressive as many folks in the UCC tend to be, I appreciate that Stetzer provides concrete statistics outlining the successes other denominations have obtained through focused and funded efforts toward church multiplication. In this regard, he makes a good case for the importance of denominational backing for church planting and growth.

– At the United Church Funds Investor Conference this past January, Naomi Harding from Blackbaud gave a PowerPoint presentation entitled “Trends in Giving: Faith-Based Organizations” which is a concise, yet helpful resource on overall trends in non-profit and church-based giving.

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