Mainline Protestant churches seem to have weathered the past decade better than many people have assumed, but the future is raising serious challenges to continued stability, said a Christian pollster.
George Barna analyzed data for The Barna Group's latest report examining mainline denominations. Weekend attendance at mainline churches has remained relatively stable, ranging from 89 to 100, over the past decade but the report suggests that they may be "on the precipice of a period of decline."
Mainline bodies – which the research group identifies as American Baptist Churches in the USA; The Episcopal Church; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; the Presbyterian Church (USA); the United Church of Christ; and the United Methodist Church – once dominated the Protestant landscape of America but today make up just one-fifth of all Protestant congregations today, the report notes. more >>
Leaders and members of mainline denominations are being called to add their signatures to the Manhattan Declaration and stand for the "sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage and the rights of conscience and religious liberty."
The Association for Church Renewal, an alliance of leaders representing conservative ministries within mainline Protestant churches, made the appeal Wednesday.
"[M]ake this public commitment as followers of Jesus Christ on behalf of the historic churches which once established the spiritual foundation of our nation," Association for Church Renewal President the Rev. David Runnion-Bareford urged. more >>
Though the Church has been criticized for being late to the HIV/AIDS fight, Christians around the world are now actively working to educate people about the deadly disease and dispel dangerous myths.
In Zimbabwe, The Evangelical Alliance Mission is working to educate the youth about treatment and medicine for those infected by the HIV virus. TEAM’s effort is in response to a dangerous myth that is spreading across Africa that an HIV-positive man can be cured by having sex with a virgin. Because it is hard to find a virgin adult woman, many of these men are raping young girls and infecting them with the virus.
Mark Clark, based in TEAM’s U.S. office, calls the myth the “Great Lie” that Satan is spreading throughout the continent, according to Mission Network News. more >>
A Little Falls, Minn., pastor recently spoke out about his decision to resign after his congregation rejected a motion to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
The Rev. Nate Bjorge told the Brainerd Dispatch that First Lutheran Church's vote last month to stay in the ELCA called into question his effectiveness as a pastor.
"I was extremely disheartened," Bjorge told the local newspaper as he recalled the Oct. 11 vote. "I haven't been angry by this whole process. Sad might be a better word." more >>
A group of Lutherans announced Wednesday that they will begin work on a proposal for an alternate church body that would accommodate those who want to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
"Many ELCA members and congregations have said that they want to sever ties with the ELCA because of the ELCA’s continued movement away from traditional Christian teachings," said the Rev. Paull Spring of State College, Pa., chair of Lutheran CORE (Coalition for Renewal).
The renewal group's steering committee made the announcement during its Nov. 17-18 meeting in Minnesota. more >>
The head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America reported that 40 positions may be cut as the denomination struggles financially.
"These have been very painful days in this organization," ELCA Presiding Bishop the Rev. Mark S. Hanson told the Church Council Friday, according to the ELCA News Service.
Lutherans are looking to reduce their 2010 budget by 10 percent due to decreased giving over the past 30 years, the economic downturn, and the decision by some congregations to withhold funding. more >>