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Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Renewing liberal mainline churches through prayer.

A small trend, perhaps, but one worth noting:

More than 70 congregations in a national study of mainline Protestant congregations have experienced renewal through commitment to classical Christian practices such as prayer, despite their denominations having lost millions of members over the past 40 years.

Diana Butler Bass, senior research fellow in church history at Virginia Theological Seminary, has found evidence of growth not just among evangelical congregations, but among more-liberal mainline churches that take traditional Christian spiritual practices seriously.

Mrs Philocrites is especially interested in the example of St. George's Episcopal Church in Arlington, Va., which "has developed an 'urban abbey' with a quasi-monastic rule of life to help members develop regular patterns of prayer, Bible study, worship and service."

("National Survey: Congregational 'Success Stories' Are There To Be Found," Ann Rodgers [RNS], United Church News Jan/Feb 2005)

Copyright © 2005 by Philocrites | Posted 8 February 2005 at 7:59 AM

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Scott Wells:

February 8, 2005 06:37 PM | Permalink for this comment

I'm not sure Mrs. P should get too excited. I formerly had a parishoner -- an Episcopalian, no less -- who lived next door to St. George, Arlington and he prefered to come into the city, attending the church I served and another Episcopal church.

I asked if he ever attended the church almost literally under his window -- the neighborhood is a rather featureless strip of higrise apartment buildings -- and I got the sense it was a dull place to be churched.

Perhaps it has gotten better.

Chris Tessone:

February 10, 2005 10:47 AM | Permalink for this comment

I forgot to send you a trackback yesterday, but I mentioned this post here. :-)


February 10, 2005 04:59 PM | Permalink for this comment

Thanks, Chris! I may have broken automatic trackbacks as part of an anti-spam effort, but they should now work again.

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