Hartford Seminary

A Decade of Change in American Congregations: What it Says about Congregational Vitality

Change is especially challenging for religious leaders because of the varied investments our congregations have in the tradition ? in both in the varied and in the best and worst senses of this term; and the past decade has produced vast changes both in society and the dynamics of congregational vitality. Indeed, some have argued that we need to learn entirely new ways of being church. This workshop looks at the reality of congregational vitality at the beginning of the 21 century through an interplay of three lenses. One is the 10 year trend data from the Faith Communities Today 2000 and 2010 national surveys of American congregations. A second is the wisdom of the current literature on congregational renewal. The third and most critical is the experience of the participants? own congregations.

David Roozen is Director of Hartford Seminary’s Hartford Institute for Religion Research; Professor of Religion and Society; and Director of the Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership — the ecumenical and interfaith research coalition responsible for the Faith Community Today series of national congregational surveys. His most recent book is a collection of case studies of seminary courses teaching interfaith dialogue, the second in his series on Changing the Way Seminaries Teach. Roozen is a past officer of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, former representative to the National Council of Churches, and a current officer of the Religious Research Association. He is a past president of the Hartford based Asylum Hill Christian Community and the Christian Activities Council, and currently serves as chair of the Internal Review Board for the Hartford based, Institute for Community Research and as chair of the Investment Committee for the Christian Activities Council.

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