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What do 111 Closed Congregations Tell Us?

This weeks blog post is written by Reverend David Schoen, Temporary Minister for Church Legacy and Closure, for the Office of Church Building and Loan Fund within Local Church Ministries. Rev. Schoen has also completed a report on Congregations that Closed in the United Church of Christ 2012-2015 that will be available soon to the wider church.…

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Clergy Shortage or Pulpit Shortage?

At a meeting of our Conference’s Church and Ministry Council last week, we were looking at the newly released Fall 2016 Statistical Profile of the United Church of Christ. It has some graphs that should look very familiar by now, showing a denomination that continues to grow smaller. One of our younger clergy on the…

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No Matter Who You Are . . . Welcome and Discrimination

“No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you, are welcome here.” We include these words as part of our greeting before worship each Sunday, as do many United Church of Christ congregations.  We’ve welcomed people of all races and ethnicities for as long as anyone can remember. In our racially…

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The Politician-ization of Authorized Ministry: Some Lenten Thoughts about Dying Churches, Congregational Resurrections, and Pastoral Leadership

In case you haven’t noticed, tremendous changes are taking place in the American church. A number of pastors, scholars, and leaders, both within and outside our denomination, have issued dire warnings about the future of the Mainline church and of the United Church of Christ. For instance, In his book Transforming Congregational Culture, pastor Anthony…

UCC Church to be Featured in Book on Ecumenical Congregations

This summer, one UCC congregation, First Federated Church of North Jackson, Ohio, will participate in an ethnographic study of ecumenical congregations. Ecumenical congregations, also known as multiply-affiliated congregations, possess affiliations with one or more denominations. (For more detail on the specific types and descriptions of affiliation in the UCC, check out this earlier post.) First Federated Church…