FACT square logoFaith Communities Today Newsletter 
Issue 12September 2011 

Latest Reports Using Faith Communities Today research:


Holy Toll: The Impact of the 2008 Recession on American Congregations


Five faith groups have released reports on their internal FACT 2010 surveys.


American Congregations Reach Out to Other Faith Traditions: A Decade of Change 2000-2010 

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How American Religion Has Changed Since 9/11


New data compared with a survey of congregations conducted a year before the tragic events of September 11, 2001

What does this mean for your congregation?

The percentage of American congregations involved in interfaith worship events has doubled in the last decade and the percentage involved in interfaith community service activities has nearly tripled. Only a little over half of American congregations ever share worship with other faiths and most of these do so only with other denominations in their broad tradition; Christian, Jewish or Muslim.

Congregations are more likely to participate in community service activities with other religions than they are worship events or educational or fellowship activities. These events and programs are rare in that nearly three out of four congregations did not participate in any kind of interfaith activity in the previous 12 months.

Congregations located in big cities and older suburbs are more likely to report involvement in interfaith activities of all kinds. Congregations on the east coast are more likely to be report involvement than are those located in other parts of the country. Oldline Protestant congregations are more likely to indicate they have been involved in multifaith events than are Evangelical congregations.

The most key indicators correlated with congregations participating in inter-religious activities include an openness to diversity, above-average community engagement and an attitude that welcomes change and innovation in general. The more community service programs that a congregation sponsors, the more likely it is to be involved in interfaith activities in general.

The personal involvement of clergy in the community is a strong indictor of the probability that a congregation is involved in interfaith events. Where clergy leaders give "quite a bit" or "a great deal" of emphasis on representing their congregation in the community the congregation is twice as likely to be involved in inter-religious programs and activities.

A copy of the report entitled American Congregations Reach Out to Other Faith Traditions is available for download at the FACT website.


Resources for Inter-religious Activities 


It's Really All About God by Samir Selmanvic (2011, Jossey-Bass). An Evangelical pastor who went through 9/11 in Manhattan with the death of neighbors and church members writes about his personal experience in conversation with Muslims, Jews and atheists and how it "made me a better Christian."


A New Guide for Muslim Interfaith Dialogue published on the Web in both PDF and HTML formats by a leading Muslim group at www.aicongress.org/pro/inter-dial-guide.html.


A web site that specializes in distributing prayer books and other religious materials designed for use in multi-faith settings is:



The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) provides support for interfaith activities through the Office of Inter-Religious Relations and distributes a number of resource materials at: www.elca.org and search for Inter-Religious Relations.


Jewish, Native American and Muslim resources, as well as an interfaith calendar, are available from the professional organization for training chaplains: www.ncracpe.org/interfaith_resources.htm


A good example of an interfaith community service organization is Multifaith Grows in Toledo, Ohio. It focuses on helping congregations and other groups start community gardens and grow food in greenhouses through the winter. The food production helps low-income families get better nutrition and supplies community food pantries and soup kitchens.  http://gardens.multifaithjourneys.org


Faith House is a resource center in Manhattan organized by survivors of 9/11 from Protestant, Catholic, Muslim and Jewish faiths. www.faithhousemanhattan.org   

For further information about FACT, or to learn how to join the Cooperative Congregations Studies Partnership (CCSP), contact David Roozen at roozen@hartsem.edu.