Community Building

30 AUGUST 2017

Do Congregations Set Up Barriers To Entry?

Do congregations unwittingly set up “Keep Out” signs to entry? A simple fact: a majority of congregations in the U.S. do not look demographically like their neighborhoods. Sadly, in terms of makeup and self-identity, who they are and how they identify themselves, most congregations do not reflect the neighborhood where they are located. It’s not […]

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4 AUGUST 2017

After School Program Lends Hope To Children

Twenty years ago, Nueva Creacion Lutheran Church started an after school program in one of Philadelphia’s toughest neighborhoods, Fairhill, known by residents as “The Badlands” due to excessive drugs and violence.  When the pastor and his wife began networking in this predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood, they asked residents what their needs were.  The result:  Centro […]

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22 JULY 2017

“We Are Bringing the Veteran Community Together”

Do you know how many veterans live, work, and worship in your community? The first step toward finding out might be fairly simple:  Gather them together. Several years ago, the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts began to reach out to veterans through its Building Bridges Veterans Initiative.  Every Wednesday, about 45-50 veterans gather at the […]

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14 JULY 2017

Don’t Just Serve, Make Friends

Kevin Frank, Director of the Brady Faith Center in Syracuse (NY) told me of the importance of building friendships when I spoke with him about his ministry with a low income neighborhood on the city’s South Side. “Before Pope Francis was pope he was bishop in Argentina. And the people in his cathedral said to […]

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Missions giving can be increased through planning
16 JUNE 2017

How To Increase Missions Giving

Herb Miller, author of The New Consecration Sunday Stewardship Guide, has consulted with thousands of congregations on ways to increase financial giving.[1] Here are a few tips from Miller on how to raise more money for local and global missions.[2] Permit several special offerings each year—to a variety of denominational and local community causes. Stewardship—effective […]

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People of diverse cultures and backgrounds holding hands
10 JUNE 2017

How To Build Community Between Immigrants And Non-immigrants

A good many congregations are located in communities that are changing demographically. The influx of immigrants into the neighborhood might present a unexpected challenge, particularly when these new Americans come from parts of the world known only through news media reports, not real life experience. Intercambio, a non-profit organization in Boulder, Colorado, sponsors English education […]

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20 MAY 2017

How Small Congregations Can Serve the Community

Sometimes people ask, “What can we do?  We are a small congregation!  Here are two examples of two congregations that leveraged their resources to change the community for the better. St John’s: Building Partnerships “St. John’s United Church of Christ is a ethnic church in Aurora, Illinois, that has about twenty people in worship on […]

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8 APRIL 2017

Best Practices for Short-Term Mission Trips

“First do no harm” is a rule that applies not only to medical practice but to short-term mission trips. Given the obvious challenges involved in shuttling a group of volunteers to a distant community with an unfamiliar culture, it cannot be stressed enough that mistakes can happen, with perhaps long-lasting consequences for mission participants or […]

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