New forms of church

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The centerpiece of Simple Church, a United Methodist congregation, is a Thursday night dinner when 30 to 40 share the Lord's Supper. Photos courtesy of Simple Church

Simple Church blends dinner, worship and enterprise to create a new model

Congregants gather for a sacred weekly meal where the conversation serves as the sermon and freshly baked bread provides nourishment, communion and income. Other churches are using their template to replicate the experience.

The Abundant Harvest food truck is one of the many parts of St. Isidore Episcopal Church and its "offensively generous" approach to ministry. Photos courtesy of St. Isidore Episcopal Church 

Church has no walls but many doors, accessible to seekers and skeptics

One body with many parts, a Houston “church without walls” brings together house churches, a food truck, pub theology, a laundry ministry and more. Its priest isn’t trying to do something old in a new way – he’s trying to do something brand-new in the old way.

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.

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