Summary: The years since 2000 have been particularly challenging for Christian churches in the US, the Presbyterian church has lost more than 1 million members, the Episcopal Church is down about 400,000, the Disciples of Christ are down about 280,000, and in a single year the United Methodist Church lost 116,000 members, that is the equivalent of losing a 300 member church every day.
In rural areas, the challenges are even bigger, as populations get older and many areas lose population, some churches have to figure out either how to how to pay the bills with fewer members or whether they should shut down.
For the past four years, the Institute for Emerging Issues has been working with The Duke Endowment as part of a big project they have underway. Our part is called Rural Faith Communities as Anchor Institutions, and it focuses on how churches can take a look at the challenges their communities face, and come to the community table to help. In some places these institutions are the most important and enduring assets a community has.
Leading the effort for the Institute for Emerging Issues is this week’s First in Future guest, Kylie Foley, the Rural Faith Communities Program Manager. As you’ll hear, she is focused and passionate about the possibilities, enough so that she moved here from South Florida to join the effort.
Listen to the podcast: