Urban Congregations as Local Actors: The Rest of the Story

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In many neighborhoods, the majority of worshippers and clergy do not live in the area surrounding their church or synagogue. Most Christians believe they are called to love and to serve their neighbors. But must "neighbors" be defined as people who live near the sanctuary? In a mobile society, good stewardship may require making choices in which locale is not the overriding consideration. Significant racial or socioeconomic differences between the members of a congregation and the people who live around their sanctuary make communication and trust more difficult. On the other hand, when people from wealthier neighborhoods worship and serve in poorer neighborhoods, they often bring with them resources that the poor neighborhood lacks.

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