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)…

Can Churches Be Vital in These Times?

This week we welcome a new writer to Vital Signs & Statistics, please welcome Rev. L. Gail Irwin! 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…

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,…

The American Armed Forces, Militarism, and the Church

It was Sunday, January 5th, and the congregation I serve—Groton Community Church (UCC)—was still basking in holiday good cheer. New Year’s resolutions and counting down the seconds to midnight were fresh in our memories, as were the blaring sounds of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve on TV, and the Christmas greetings of peace and…

Atomic Bombs, Caesar’s Wife, and a Cautionary Lesson about Seduction, Forgiveness, and Grace for Church Leaders

I just finished reading Kai Bird’s and Martin J. Sherwin’s magisterial American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (New York: Vintage, 2005), and Ray Monk’s equally impressive Robert Oppenheimer: A Life Inside the Center (New York: Anchor, 2012). Admittedly, these are unlikely readings for a UCC minister who is opposed to American…

Do Open and Affirming (ONA) Congregations Have More Vitality?

Rev. Dr. Chris Davies is the Team Leader for Faith Education, Innovation and Formation.  She focuses on spiritual innovation, resourcing local congregations, and helping vision towards the future of the church I have often heard questions about the correlation between a church’s status as an ONA church and their congregational vitality. While we can clearly…