Pillars of Faith: American Congregations and Their Partners

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University of California Press, 2005 - Religion - 354 pages
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At the close of the twentieth century the United States was, by all accounts, among the most religious of modern Western nations. "Pillars of Faith "describes the diversity of tradition and the commonality of organizational strategy that characterize the more than 300,000 congregations in the United States, arguing that they provide the social bonds, spiritual traditions, and community connections that are vital to an increasingly diverse society. Nancy Tatom Ammerman follows several traditions Mainline Protestant, Conservative Protestant, African American Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox, Jewish, Sectarian, and other religions as they establish discernible patterns of congregational life that fit their own history, tradition, and relationship to American society. Her methodologically sophisticated study balances survey research with interviews conducted with people from ninety-one different religious traditions and ethnographic observations that yield new information on many dimensions of American congregational life. Her book is the first to depict the complex resource base supporting American congregations, the enormous web of partners with whom congregations work, and the range of institutional patterns they exhibit. Contrary to many gloomy forecasts, "Pillars of Faith: American Congregations and Their Partners" argues that organized religion in the United States is robust and vigorous and that it can handle the increasing demands of escalating diversity and mobility the future is sure to bring.
  

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Nancy T. Ammerman’s Pillars of Faith covers the seven main religious traditions from an interesting light—to see how the their congregations have evolved over time and how those evolutions relate to ... Read full review

Contents

FIGURES
4
Worshiping
23
Food Fun
51
Partners
69
Hymnal Use in Christian Congregations
75
Educational Publications for Children in Christian Congregations
82
Educational Publications for Adults in Christian Congregations
89
TABLES
95
Organizational Scope of Outreach Partnerships
168
Organizational Partnerships of Congregations in Different
176
Support for National and International Evangelistic and Missionary Activity
195
Stories and Practices
206
Individual Denominational Identification in Different
216
Denominational Participation and Identification of Mainline
225
Denominational Participation and Identification of Conservative
235
Effects of Narrative Practices on Denominational Identity in Conservative
243

Outside Financial Support Received by Congregations in Different Religious
101
Serving
115
Social and Evangelistic Outreach
132
Networks
158
Community Outreach Programs of Different Size Congregations
161
Voluntary and Diverse Communities
254
Appendices 279
310
Index
339
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Nancy Tatom Ammerman, Professor of Sociology of Religion at Boston University, is the author of "Congregation and Community"(1997) and "Baptist Battles" (1990) and co-editor of "Work, Family, and Religion in Contemporary America" (1995) and "Studying Congregations" (1998).

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