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American Congregations, Volume 1

Portraits of Twelve Religious Communities

American Congregations, Volume 1: Portraits of Twelve Religious Communities chronicles the founding, growth, and development of congregations that represent the diverse and complex reality of American local religious cultures. Some, like Center Church in New Haven, trace their stories back to colonial times. Others, like the Swaminarayan Hindu temple in suburban Chicago, are recent attempts to create local religious worlds. Ranging from congregations of Lebanese Muslims in Northern Canada to Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, the essays convey the distinctive character of each congregation and provide vivid evidence of the importance of congregations in daily life.

"This study refreshingly illuminates [congregations’] strengths as places where the public and private lives of their members meet in dynamic creativity and as havens of religious meaning and comfort in the midst of a secular world."—Choice

"A major contribution to how debates about American religion will be framed in the years ahead. . . . In giving us these case histories and a set of excellent interpretive essays, Wind and Lewis have reminded us that American religion must be understood in its particular, local, gathered, human forms. They remind us that congregations matter."—Nancy T. Ammerman, First Things

"Well-presented and engaging essays, by some of the foremost religious scholars working today, examining the histories of twelve diverse religious institutions. . . . A fascinating and important social history of religion."—Kirkus Reviews

"Scholarship and the religious traditions have been enriched by the labors of the Congregational History Project. Theologically, its pioneering research invites us to examine ourselves."—Gabriel Fackre, Christian Century

719 pages | 20 halftones, 17 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 1994

History: American History

Religion: American Religions, Religion and Society

Table of Contents

Introduction by James P. Wind and James W. Lewis
1. A New England Congregation: Center Church, New Haven, 1638-1989
Harry S. Stout and Catherine Brekus
2. "A Special Feeling of Closeness": Mt. Hebron Baptist Church, Leeds, Alabama
Wayne Flynt
3. From Synagogue-Community to Citadel of Reform: The History of K. K. Bene Israel (Rockdale Temple) in Cincinnati, Ohio
Jonathan D. Sarna and Karla Goldman
4. A Social History of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore: The House of God and the Struggle for Freedom
Lawrence H. Mamiya
5. Sugar House Ward: A Latter-day Saint Congregation
Jan Shipps, Cheryll L. May, and Dean L. May
6. An Oak among Churches: St. Boniface Parish, Chicago, 1864-1990
Stephen J. Shaw
7. ¿Qué es esto? The Transformation of St. Peter’s Parish, San Francisco, 1913-1990
Jeffrey M. Burns
8. Making a Difference: Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago
Marilee Munger Scroggs
9. The History of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation
George Papaioannou
10. Reducing the Distance: A Muslim Congregation in the Canadian North
Earle H. Waugh
11. Swaminarayan Hindu Temple of Glen Ellyn, Illinois
Raymond Brady Williams
12. Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, California
Randall Balmer and Jesse T. Todd, Jr.

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