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 >>
The San Francisco Presbytery has approved the ordination of an openly homosexual minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
But already, opponents of the move say they have collected enough signatures to stay the ordination.
"We believe that what San Francisco Presbytery did was unconstitutional, and we expect to see the error corrected," said Sarah Hill, coordinator of the Presbyterian Coalition, according to Religion News Service. "The presbytery cannot ordain the candidate until the legal process is complete." more >>
Three churches in northern California cut ties with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and joined a smaller and more conservative denomination this month.
Among them was Trinity Presbyterian Church in Clovis which was officially constituted as an Evangelical Presbyterian Church congregation on Sunday.
During a meeting earlier this month, EPC's Presbytery of the West examined several pastors and their requests to transfer from the PC(USA) to the EPC. The Rev. Chuck Shillito of Trinity was received and on Sunday installed as pastor. more >>
Presbyterians have come to a similar conclusion as Lutherans recently did about same-gender relationships: they cannot agree.
In a draft report, a special committee of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) stated that there continues to be a struggle in the denomination and they are left with "honest and sincere disagreements" on the issue of same-sex marriage and partnerships.
"What is the place of covenanted same-gender partnerships in the Christian community? The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) cannot agree," the Special Committee to Study Issues of Civil Unions and Christian Marriage said in its September report. more >>
Presbyterians have gathered in Atlanta, Ga., in hopes of birthing a new evangelism movement within its churches.
Part of the "Big Tent" event, the Evangelism Conference aims to infuse the passion for evangelism back into the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which has seen declining membership for decades. Its largest drop (2.5 percent) occurred in 2007.
"I want a conference that will satisfy the deep hunger in our church for evangelism," said the Rev. Eric Hoey, director of evangelism and church growth for the PC(USA), as reported by the Presbyterian News Service. more >>