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In churches: more diversity, more drums

In churches: more diversity, more drums

Cathy Lynn Grossman of Religion News Service writes:

U. S. religious congregations are marching to their own drums now more than ever. The National Congregations Study’s latest look at the country’s churches, synagogues, and mosques — the third wave of studies that began in 1998 — finds more congregations:

– Open their doors to gays and lesbians in active membership and in leadership.

– Show racial and ethnic diversity in the pews.

– Encourage hand-waving, amen-shouting, and dancing-in-the-aisles during worship.

– Disconnect from denominational ties, doctrines, and rules that might slow or block change.

The study, released Thursday (September 11), draws on interviews with leaders at 1,331 nationally representative congregations and updates data from 1998 and 2006 studies. Non-Christian congregations were included in the study, but there are too few for statistical analysis by topics.

Have a look at the full article and the survey and come back and tell us what you think is happening. How should Episcopal parishes respond to this new information?


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Lisa Shirley Jones

Yeah, Kurt Hill, perhaps that’s just showmanship? I am all for more diversity, LGBT or otherwise, and for churches, even that identify as Episcopalian, to find ways to connect with local cultures, even if that doesn’t follow the BCP. But if I do to a church that is doing dancing-in-the-aisles? No…

Lisa Jones


Sorry, but I draw the line at “hand-waving, amen-shouting, and dancing-in-the-aisles during worship.” Thanks, but no thanks.

Kurt Hill

Brooklyn, NY

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