New forms of church

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Layperson Muriel Dufendach, left, shares a laugh with the Rev. Carol Walton after a service at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Henderson, Nevada. Dufendach  carries out some traditionally priestly functions, such as presiding at the weekday Eucharist.  Photo by Ronda Churchill

A move to part-time clergy sparks innovation in congregations

Although church leaders often worry that switching from full-time to part-time clergy will lead to decline, congregations across the country are finding new vitality by reimagining the roles of clergy and laypeople.

Via their avatars, children and teens gather for worship in the sanctuary of The Robloxian Christians. 

Teen's online church draws young people from around the world

Founded and pastored by a Tacoma teenager, The Robloxian Christians is a real -- albeit virtual -- church where young people gather to worship, pray and connect. And it has important lessons for those who lead traditional churches and church-related institutions.

The Rev. Dr. Michael Bell looks out the window of the Wilson Renaissance Complex, a downtown building that has been renovated by the nonprofit arm of Bell's congregation, St. John AME Zion Church.  Photo by Alex Maness

A renovation project brings income to a church nonprofit and vitality to a former tobacco town

An enterprising leader of St. John AME Zion Church pushed his congregation to revive its dormant nonprofit and undertake an ambitious plan to buy and improve seven properties in a historically African-American area of Wilson, North Carolina.

The Fondren Apartment Ministry and Westbury UMC reflect the changing face of Houston and America. Photos by Mark Mulligan

Westbury UMC's apartment ministry has helped resettled refugees -- and the congregation -- find new life in Houston

The church is located in one of the most multicultural cities in America, yet the congregation was not as engaged with its diverse neighbors as it could have been. That changed when they hired an associate pastor to live in intentional community in apartments three miles and a whole world away.

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