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Vol. VI, No. 1


Men's Commitment to Religion

There are so few men in our churches now! Why is this happening?  How can we fix this crisis?! How can we get more men participating?  Such laments echo across the national, regional and congregational offices of the traditional mainline Protestant denominations today, as they have every year during the last century - and longer. In a paper delivered at the Annual Meetings of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Adair Lummis examines this issue and the possible causes of this trend.

At the beginning of the 21st century, there continue to be church leaders who are voicing this excess of women over men in their congregations, as an immediate crisis to be addressed, including the Episcopal Church which has long had a majority of women in its parish pews.  Currently, there are more women than men in the congregations of most US denominations. However, in contrast to conservative Protestant denominations and similar to other liberal Protestant denominations, Episcopal congregations generally have significantly more women than men as members (Hadaway, 2002:16).

Both a hundred years ago and presently, in this country and globally, the writings by historians and other social scientists reflect continued debate over whether congregations are mainly  "feminized" in their worship and programs  (1)  because of the superabundance of women in the pews who nudge the churches that way,  or   (2) because congregational worship and programs, whatever their forms, are more attractive to women, who in contrast to men, are more emotional, nurturing, spiritual, and communally involved (Taves, 2002;  Stark, 2002.)

The complete paper on this topic, including further research, is available on the Hartford Institute web site.

Educational Opportunities at Hartford Seminary

  • Fall Online Course:  Varieties of Gay and Lesbian Religious Life in the U.S. 

    Taught by Edward R. Gray, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion at Emory University, this course will examine the history of the tension between homosexuality and religious organizations and explore the multifaceted methods adopted by gays and lesbians to meet their spiritual needs in modern American society. 

  • Fall Online Course:  Islamic History I with Professor Ibrahim Abu-Rabi'

    This course will explore the history of Islamic civilization from its beginnings in seventh century Arabia until the establishment of the Ottoman Empire in the fifteenth century.  Attention will be given to the structure of political institutions, the changing nature of the caliphate, as well as social trends and important cultural developments.  read more on the Hartford Seminary site.

What's New:

  • 2005 Megachurch study underway!  This cooperative project to survey all megachurches in the United States is being conducted by Scott Thumma of Hartford Institute and The Leadership Network and its representatives Dave Travis and Warren Bird.  If you are a member of a megachurch, please encourage your leadership to take part in our study and return the questionnaire.  More information about the study including an online survey can be found on the Hartford Institute web site.
  • The 2005 Faith Communities Today national survey is in the mail.  Read about this new effort to study the role of congregations in American society.
  • "Gay Religion," edited by Scott Thumma and Edward R. Gray, had a successful release at the end of last year and continues to be in great demand.  Read more about the book on the Institute site.
  • Jim Nieman officially joined our faculty in January of 2005 as Professor of Practical Theology.  Learn more about Dr. Nieman.
  • Faculty members David A. Roozen and James R. Nieman have released a new book titled "Church, Identity, and Change"  which offers an unprecedented, in-depth, inside look at the church today through the lens of eight diverse Protestant denominations.


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