Tag: Religion Trends

Mainline church membership decline continues – but more slowly

Church Growing churches continue to grow and declining churches continue to decline, according to the National Council of Ch urches’ 2011 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches.

“The direction of membership (growth or decline) remains very stable,” writes the Yearbook’s editor, the Rev. Dr. Eileen Lindner, in the newest edition released this week. “That is, churches which have been increasing in membership in recent years continue to grow and likewise, those churches which have been declining in recent years continue to decline.”

Global Growth of Muslims to Level Off, Report Says

Islam A new report forecasts that the number of Muslims around the world will grow over the next 20 years at twice the rate of non-Muslims, but that the rapid growth will level off.

Amaney A. Jamal, associate professor of politics at Princeton and a consultant on global Islam, said that the report could challenge assertions by some scholars and far-right political parties about future demographic domination by Muslims.

A closer look at reports about the growth of Islam in the UK

Two reports seem to suggest that Islam in the UK is growing faster than anyone realised. The first, published by Faith Matters, looks specifically at conversions to Islam, concluding that between 2001 and 2010 the number of British converts rose from 60,000 to 100,000. Meanwhile, a forthcoming US Pew Forum report estimates that the total number of UK Muslims is 2.9 million (4.6%) compared with 1.6 million (2.8%) in 2001.

Adding Islam to a Latino Identity

Lens, the photography blog of The New York Times, has an interview with Eirini Vourloumis, a freelance photographer who has recently focused on Islamic communities in the United States.

Q: What did you learn as you explored Islam?

A: There is a strong sense of community among Muslims in America and a common responsibility to educate non-Muslims on their religion, mainly focusing on breaking the negative stereotypes. Converts are attracted to this sense of unity and are drawn to the supportive framework.

Q: Why Latino Muslims? Why do you think so many are converting?

A: Many describe disillusionment with the practices of Catholicism and the church establishment. These Latinos are lured by Islam’s simplicity and the Muslim’s independence from a mediating clergy in his or her relationship with God. Converts are seeking a different identity. Islam provides a moral code of conduct in everyday life, providing them with a more regimented and disciplined lifestyle.

See Also: • More Latino women converting to IslamFrom Mexico to MeccaTo be young, Hispanic and MuslimSome Hispanics are ‘reverting’ to Muslim faithOlder generations mourn as young Hispanics turn away from the Catholic Church

Pastors are flocking to Facebook, Twitter

Religious social media use is flourishing, as much in smaller, more conservative worship centers as in the megachurches, says Sarah Pulliam Bailey, online editor of Christianity Today.

Concern that social media media will detract from people gathering for worship together is vanishing, she says.

“You have to proceed with caution like anything else,” Baker says. “It’s not Facebook that causes those issues, it’s people.”

Are social media changing religion?

More Protestant churches feel economic pain

A growing number of Protestant congregations have seen their Sunday collections drop this year, according to a survey by LifeWay Research on the economic health of churches. Pastors blame high unemployment and a drop-off in giving by members.

To make ends meet, churches have laid off staff and frozen salaries, put off major capital projects and cut back on programs.

At the same time, more of their congregation members and neighbors are asking for help with basic needs like paying the rent and buying groceries, the study found.

Study: Happiness is having friends at church

Attending religious services regularly and having close friends in the congregation are key to having a happier, more satisfying life, a study finds.

Even attending services irregularly — just several times a year — increases a sense of well-being, so long as there is a circle of friendships within the community and a strong, shared religious identity.

That’s the key finding of a study released today in the December issue of the American Sociological Review.

For the study, Lim and co-author Robert Putnam analyzed data collected during 2006 and 2007 as part of the Faith Matters Study, a nationwide survey of a representative sample of adults.

The survey, examining the various ways that religion affects American society, is the focus of the recently released book American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us by Putnam and David Campbell.

Lord Carey: Christianity being ‘airbrushed’ from society as Christmas is ‘rebranded’

Britain’s Christian culture is under attack as faith is “airbrushed” from society, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, has warned.

Even Christmas is being “re-branded” as a secular festival because councils, politicians and businesses are “ashamed” of its true religious meaning, he said.

Lord Carey’s remarks came as he launched a national campaign to promote the right of Christians to express their beliefs in public and at work.

But Anglican bishop Nick Baines has rejected claims by some lobby groups and activists that Christians in Britain are being persecuted for their beliefs.

He said that in fact “we’re everywhere” and urged church people not to allow themselves to be fitted into a “hierarchy of victimhood”.

Acknowledging the genuine and terrible persecutions in Christian history and affecting minorities around the world today, the bishop denied that the choices facing Christians in modern plural Britain were in any way comparable.