Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Congregational Life Survey’

Cultivating gratitude: Being thankful with some help from religious friends

Having trouble being thankful? New research suggests one possible solution: Keep your friends close, and your religious friends closer. A national study of worshipers found that individuals who had more friends in their congregations were more likely to be grateful to God and ultimately report better health and fewer symptoms of depression.

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Faith 101: Supporting college freshmen through times of spiritual questioning

College freshmen undergoing spiritual struggles may be at risk for addictive behaviors, a study indicates. The finding is consistent with a developing body of research revealing the complex nature of religion and mental health. The assurance of a loving God concerned with their welfare helps many people deal with life’s stresses, but individuals with a less secure attachment to the divine may face greater problems with anxiety and depression.

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7 ways congregations can embrace people with special needs

Faith communities appear to have fallen behind the larger society in their understanding and inclusion of people with disabilities. But research is revealing several ways – beginning with attitudes of love and acceptance – that just about any congregation can be more inclusive.

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What schism? Sexuality issues rarely create serious conflict in congregations

For all the furor whipped up in denominational politics and cultural debates over issues such as same-sex marriage, little evidence exists that they make a critical difference in the vast majority of local congregations. Studies indicate that disputes over gay rights are not a major source of conflict in local churches. Those worshipers for whom issues of sexuality are a major concern tend to gravitate toward houses of worship that embrace their views, researchers note.

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Religion and volunteering: What motivates people of faith to serve thy neighbor

What motivates religious individuals to volunteer at a community food bank, or to care for the sick or to build houses and schools for neighbors in their community and across the world? The answer is complex, with personal faith, worship attendance and social networks all playing a role, according to new research.

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Five hopeful signs for U.S. congregations

How tough have times become for religious leaders? Benedict XVI became the first pope to resign in six centuries, declaring both strength of mind and body are necessary to oversee the church “in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith.” Yet there are also more hopeful trends about the health and mission of houses of worship. The latest wave of the U.S. Congregational Life Survey, now available for download and exploration on the Association of Religion Data Archives, shares elements of growth and ongoing strengths in congregations.

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A religion scholar who changed lives: The grace of Deborah Bruce

In a world where humility is considered more a weakness than a virtue, she was self-effacing and dedicated to serving others. In a profession where information can be guarded to serve institutional or personal concerns, she leaves behind a rich collection of data on American religion. In a culture where polarization can lead to despair for those committed to sharing uncomfortable truths, she responded with respect and good humor. A lot of us are going to miss Deborah Bruce, the project manager of the U.S. Congregational Life Survey

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