Fall issue of Reflections magazine: “Churches face the Future”

The upcoming issue of Reflections, YDS’s magazine of theological and ethical inquiry, explores the state of church life today and also takes a look at what the 21st century might bring to congregations. Entitled “How Firm a Foundation? Churches Face the Future,” the fall 2009 issue will be in the mail in October.  In his introductory letter to the issue, Dean Harold Attridge writes that the issue reports “a tale of diverse ways in which congregations of different denominations, sizes, ethnicities, and politics engage the world from a ground of faith....If there is a theme that runs through these essays, it is a confidence in the resilience of congregations in these challenging times.”

ReflectionsGuest contributing editor for the issue is Martin Copenhaver ’80 M.Div., senior pastor of Wellesley Congregational Church (UCC) in Wellesley, MA and the author of several books, most recently This Odd and Wondrous Calling: The Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers, co-authored with Lillian Daniel ’93 M.Div., senior minister of First Congregational Church (UCC) in Glen Ellyn, IL.  Both have articles in the fall issue.

Among other writers in the issue are Peter W. Marty ’85 M.Div., senior pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Davenport, IA, and author of The Anatomy of Grace; popular speaker Anthony B. Robinson, writer of numerous books, including Changing the Conversation: A Third Way for Congregations; Dwight Andrews ’77 M.Div., ’93 Ph.D., senior minister at First Congregational Church in Atlanta and well-known jazz musician; and Nora Gallagher, author of Things Seen and Unseen: A Year Lived in Faith, and preacher-in-residence at Trinity Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara, CA.

In his concluding column for the issue, Reflections Editor Ray Waddle writes, “Perhaps the ‘religious economy’ today faces what the American economy itself is undergoing– a painful restructuring, a forced self-scrutiny, a downsizing of traditional ways of conducting business. But as the writers in this Reflections issue make plain, mainline church values of Biblical hospitality, community, discipleship, beauty, liturgy, and neighborliness must be part of any future witness against the roaring powers of discouragement and destruction.

“In crazy times, church must be the place where people sense holiness, pray, and listen. When they are alert to their own identities, congregations reconnect people in a new day to ancient substances of human feeling – bread, wine, sacred text and poetry, exchanges of the peace. Congregations give the world a space to hear God and stir conscience.