Growth & renewal

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Gathering on the steps of historic Mount Vernon Place UMC, Washington, DC

Mount Vernon Place UMC was in decline when the Rev. Donna Claycomb Sokol was called as its pastor in 2005; today it is a thriving urban congregation. Photo courtesy of Mount Vernon Place UMC

Excerpt: ‘A New Day in the City’

How do you reverse decline in once-grand urban churches? In their new book, Donna Claycomb Sokol and L. Roger Owens share their experience and suggest a framework for seven crucial conversations that Christian leaders can initiate with their congregations.

The style of worship at Munger Place falls under the “contemporary” category, with rock-style worship and video and casual dress. The building has a traditional feel, so the style seems much more traditional than the typical megachurch in Dallas. Photo courtesy of Munger Place

Andrew Forrest: Every dying church in America has a community garden

Struggling congregations tend to chase after popular strategies rather than do what Jesus commanded -- make disciples, says the United Methodist pastor of a replanted church in Dallas.

Bread Church participants gather ingredients for an evening of baking and spiritual discussion.  Photos by Brian Diggs.

A struggling Texas church is slowly rising again, becoming leaven for the community

Despite years of decline and worries about the future, Austin's Memorial UMC is moving forward in ministry, with bread baking, ESL classes and a decidedly Wesleyan model of church focused not on themselves but on their neighbors.

Candle burning

The addition of a contemplative Saturday evening service was part of a radical change in the worship life of Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church. Photos by Tom Wallace

A Minneapolis congregation finds new life through the ancient practice of keeping Sabbath

Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church has placed Sabbath keeping at the heart of its life together. Two Sundays a month, they take a rest from work and obligations -- and even the Sunday service.

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