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Conclusion: Public Churches and the Church

Conclusion: Public Churches and the Church

Mainline Problems and Prospects

(p.399) Chapter Eleven Conclusion: Public Churches and the Church
Public Pulpits
University of Chicago Press

How can the mainline Protestant churches invigorate their social witness and public advocacy in America today? Diagnosis from the angle of the public church underscores the fact that local giving has increased in the congregations of many mainline churches since the 1980s, often in step with marked increases in their local efforts to feed, clothe, shelter, and otherwise aid the needy, even as denominational giving has ebbed. A wide array of memberships in associations has long accompanied participation in religion by the middle class in America, in contrast to the more specifically church-centered loyalties of those further down the social ladder. However, this more concentrated competition for the charitable dollar of the socially conscientious faithful has already led mainline churches to tighten controls on how and how often their own social justice offices and agencies can appeal to the faithful for donations. Adequate numbers of staff engaged in public advocacy and education by the mainline churches requires adequate funding.

Keywords:   Protestant churches, religion, America, mainline churches, public advocacy, public church, middle class, social justice, donations, funding

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