01: Richard Kew’s Brave New Church (Morehouse Publishing, $15.95) has a distinctly Anglican tone in its forecasting of trends that will impact churches in the near future.
But Kew, an Episcopal priest, also covers wide terrain in his trend-watching (he has written two previous books on trends in the churches in the late 1980s and 90s that were often on target). He sees globalization and the failure of centralized denominations to hold things together for congregations as radically reconfiguring religious organizations. Churches are developing links and mission opportunities with congregations from other countries that largely bypass denominational headquarters and missions agencies Historic structures, such as the historic episcopate (where bishops are seen as being consecrated in a historic succession allegedly down from the apostles) are downplayed while common beliefs and practices create new bonds.
Other trends Kew discusses include growing ethnic diversity in the churches; the approaching “gray wave’ of baby boomer seniors and the lack of volunteerism in the churches to meet new needs; and the importance of Christianity forming new ties with Islam.
02: Readers can still obtain a copy of RW editor Richard Cimino’s Trusting The Spirit: Renewal and Reform in American Religion for only $17 (postage and handling included).
Princeton University sociologist Robert Wuthnow says “Renewal movements are as much a part of American religion as church buildings and synagogues, and yet it is difficult to stay abreast of the latest in these developments. Which movements are most successful and why? Are they revitalizing all traditions or only some?
Should the leaders of established organizations embrace them or fear them? Combining journalistic and sociological methods, Richard Cimino has written an excellent book that helps us answer these questions.”
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