On Passing and Flunking the God Test During a Pandemic

David Kaden is the Senior Minister of First Congregational Church of Ithaca, NY, and holds a PhD in the academic study of religion from the University of Toronto. He has taught at Cornell University, University of Toronto, St. Olaf College, and the New York School of Ministry. His first book was Matthew, Paul, and the Anthropology of…

Listening in Anxious Times

Rev. L. Gail Irwin has served UCC and PCUSA churches as a settled and Intentional Interim Pastor. She is a freelance writer for The Christian Century and author of Toward the Better Country: Church Closure and Resurrection (Wipf & Stock, 2014), which was written under a Louisville Institute research grant. Her blog can be found…

Christian Leaders Behaving Badly: Some Wrong-Headed and Counterproductive Responses to the Coronavirus Pandemic, and What We Can Learn from Them

Rev. Chris Xenakis is a UCC pastor currently serving Groton Community Church (UCC) in Central New York. In addition, he is an adjunct lecturer at SUNY-Cortland, teaching courses this year on world politics, democracy, U.S. foreign policy and multiculturalism. Chris has written numerous books and articles, which can be found on his blog.   As a…

The Role Of The Church In Creating A Just World For All

This week’s post is written by the Rev. Dr. Patrick G. Duggan, Executive Director of the United Church of Christ Church Building & Loan Fund. Since 1995, Rev. Dr. Duggan has also served as senior pastor of the Congregational Church of South Hempstead in South Hempstead, New York.   On Long Island (where I live)…

A Generation Built for Such a Time as This

It’s a new week and I’d like to introduce and welcome another one of our newest writers to Vital Signs & Statistics, Rev. Lee Yates! Rev. Lee Yates is pastor of Covina Community Church and Managing Editor of InsideOut Camp Curriculum. He also serves as a communication consultant for the Southern California Nevada Conference and…

Co-Belonging During COVID-19: An Opportunity for Churches

This week I’d like to introduce and welcome one of the newest writers to Vital Signs & Statistics, Rev. David A. Kaden! David Kaden is the Senior Minister of First Congregational Church of Ithaca, NY, and holds a PhD in the academic study of religion from the University of Toronto. He has taught at Cornell University,…

Say It Isn’t So, Betsy: Since When Has Religious Freedom Come to Mean the Freedom to Proselytize in Public Schools, and to Discriminate on Religious Grounds Against People We Don’t Like?

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught his disciples about religious practices such as charity and prayer. In contrast with the vulgar display of false piety of the Pharisees and religious teachers of his day, Jesus admonished his followers to practice their religion privately: So when you give to the needy, do not announce…

The Church Confronts “Okay, Boomer!” Culture

For some time now, there has been intense interest among American business leaders, but also among pastors, church officials, and denominational consultants, in the decline of the Baby Boomer generation (consisting of those born between 1946 and 1964), and the rise of younger generations, including Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) and “Generation-Z” (born between…