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Since 9/11, number of Presbyterian churches engaged with other faith groups has increased 50 percent

September 7, 2011

LOUISVILLE

In the ten years since the September 11 attacks exposed fissures in America’s patchwork quilt of religions, the number of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations involved in activities with other faiths has increased 50 percent.  One-quarter of congregations, up from 16 percent, are now involved.

In this regard, PC(USA) congregations’ activities parallel those of U.S. religious congregations across the faith spectrum. The number of U.S. congregations participating in multifaith activities also increased in the past ten years, going from 14 percent in 2000 to 27 percent in 2010.

These are findings from the 2000 and 2010 Faith Communities Today surveys of congregations, undertaken in collaboration with the Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership

Community service work was the most prevalent multifaith activity for PC(USA) congregations—17 percent participated in such work during the 12-month period before the survey was conducted in spring 2010.  One in ten congregations each participated in multifaith worship services; multifaith educational or fellowship activities; or multifaith joint celebrations, fairs, meals, or cultural events during the same period.

In both 2000 and 2010, roughly nine in ten PC(USA) congregations participated in activities that were either multifaith (with non-Christian groups) or ecumenical (with other Christian groups).

“With the September 11 terrorist attacks, two wars, and economic upheavals, the first decade of the 21st Century has seen plenty of changes,” noted Perry Chang, PC(USA) associate for survey research.  “One of the changes is that more Presbyterian churches have connected with groups from other faiths, be they Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or Baha’i.”

About 700 PC(USA) congregations and 10,000 congregations identified with other faith communities participated in the 2010 survey, which was the fourth undertaken by the Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership, a federation of researchers and religious leaders from several dozen U.S. faith communities.

For more information about PC(USA) Faith Communities Today surveys and other resources from Research Services, visit the Research Services website or contact Research Services toll-free at (800) 728-7228, x5071, or by email.

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