Clergy Notes 1996-2001

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Clergy Notes was a monthly publication by The Polis Center as a part of their Project on Religion and Urban Culture to provide information about issues that were of interest to clergy regarding their communities and urban life.

Published from November 1996 to March 2001. Each issue has a topical title.


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Now showing 1 - 10 of 39
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    Community Lost?
    Are we becoming a nation of loners? Yes, claims sociologist Robert Putnam in his essay "Bowling Alone."
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    The Changing Face of Indianapolis Religion
    (1997-05) Diamond, Etan; Farnsley, Arthur E. II
    Like a photograph, a survey provides a snapshot of people’s attitudes or behaviors at a single point in time. It often reveals little about the past and how those attitudes have changed. Only by comparing different surveys from different points in time can we begin to see how attitudes have shifted, how the landscape has been altered.
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    Two Maps of the Same Neighborhood
    A map doesn’t tell the whole story about the territory. When you talk with residents about their neighborhoods, you are soon struck by the different ways citizens describe their environment.
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    Taking Care of Business
    How do congregations react when the neighborhood changes? Most congregations don't do anything, according to Hartford Seminary sociologist Nancy Ammerman and her colleagues.
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    Urban-Suburban Partnerships are Growing
    Around the Indianapollis metropolitan region, inter-church partnerships are being created and considered. Researchers from The Polis Center are observing several urban-suburban partnerships.
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    Coming Down from the Volunteer Summit
    Congregations of all sorts have been in the volunteer business a long time. Polis researchers have found that the volunteers congregations recruit are mainly for the educational, administrative and liturgical programs of the congregation. Community service is important to many congregations, but in most cases it is not the highest priority.
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    The Other Side of Prosperity
    All the economic signs say the country is prospering. Unemployment is down, profits are up, and governments are getting more tax dollars than they expected. But there may be another side to this rosy picture. But there may be another side to this rosy picture. Many churches say they receive more calls for food, clothing, and cash than they did a year ago. Directors in a handful of food pantries show that prosperity does not go all through the population.
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    Learning from Students
    What influences the relation between congregations and their neighborhoods? You'll find you end up with a handful of questions. But good questions are more interesting than pat answers.
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    You Carry
    There is nothing settled in the life of a religious community. Many a congregation started its life in the center of town, moved to a residential neighborhood as its members become more prosperous, pulled up stakes again, and now sits in the middle of a parking lot in the suburbs. In spite of this movement, the fact that "place matters" was a consistent theme in the interviews with congregation members conducted by The Polis Center this past summer.
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    Welfare Reform Poses New Challenges for Congregations
    On Oct. 21, a diverse group of clergy, lay people, and non-profit leaders gathered at North United Methodist Church to discuss the impact of welfare reform on religious outreach programs. The daylong conference, "Congregations and Community Life," was organized through The Polis Center’s Project on Religion and Urban Culture. The featured speakers were two national experts on religious charities and welfare reform.
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