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Christians > Protestants > Churches, Denominations > USA > Evangelicals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evangelical Christianity, Evangelicals, Evangelical churches,

American evangelicalism        UK / USA

 

https://www.nytimes.com/topic/subject/
evangelical-and-evangelical-christianity  

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/
jesus/evangelicals/evmain.html

 

 

2022

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/09/
us/arkansas-pastor-evangelical-churches.html

 

 

 

 

2021

 

https://www.npr.org/2021/06/15/
1006480632/southern-baptists-meet-to-grapple-with-race-gender-equality-and-sexual-abuse

 

https://www.npr.org/2021/02/24/
970685909/evangelical-leaders-condemn-radicalized-christian-nationalism

 

https://www.gocomics.com/chrisbritt/2021/01/17

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/14/
opinion/trump-evangelicals.html

 

 

 

 

2020

 

https://www.npr.org/2020/10/26/
926659149/for-trump-conservative-catholics-are-the-new-evangelicals

 

https://www.npr.org/2020/09/23/
916048798/the-evangelical-vote

 

https://www.npr.org/2020/07/08/
888906337/unholy-examines-the-alliance-between-white-evangelicals-and-trump

 

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/03/
donald-trump-church-photo-op-evangelicals

 

 

 

 

2019

 

https://www.npr.org/2019/06/11/
731664197/apocalypse-now

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/10/
us/southern-baptist-convention-sex-abuse.html

 

 

 

 

2018

 

https://www.npr.org/2018/12/24/
678390550/for-evangelicals-a-year-of-reckoning-on-sexual-sin-and-support-for-donald-trump

 

https://www.npr.org/2018/08/31/
643407967/michigan-childs-death-puts-spotlight-on-clash-between-medicine-and-religion

 

https://www.npr.org/2018/07/11/
628000131/once-militantly-anti-abortion-evangelical-minister-now-lives-with-regret

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/20/
opinion/trump-evangelicals-ralph-reed.html

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/27/
us/politics/franklin-graham-evangelicals-california.html

 

https://www.npr.org/2018/05/25/
613457429/roman-catholics-and-evangelicals-move-apart-in-their-political-priorities

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/09/
us/blacks-evangelical-churches.html

 

https://www.npr.org/2018/02/21/
136224476/americas-pastor-billy-graham-dies-at-99

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/21/
obituaries/billy-graham-dead.html

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/07/
us/politics/trump-evangelicals-national-prayer-breakfast.html

 

https://www.npr.org/2018/01/06/
575964167/evangelicals-and-mormons-are-political-allies-but-theological-rivals

 

 

 

 

2017

 

https://www.npr.org/2017/12/29/
574590758/2017-has-been-a-rough-year-for-evangelicals

 

https://www.npr.org/2017/12/29/
573218006/trump-scorns-mainstream-news-but-not-the-christian-broadcasting-network

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/03/
evangelical-christians-religion-politics-trump

 

http://www.npr.org/2017/10/29/
560097406/after-choosing-donald-trump-is-the-evangelical-church-in-crisis

 

http://www.npr.org/2017/10/13/
557459193/trump-set-to-address-values-voter-summit-for-first-time-as-president

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/05/
donald-trump-why-do-evangelicals-support-him

 

http://www.npr.org/2017/05/02/
525452958/why-white-evangelicals-are-splintering-politically

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/13/
opinion/sunday/the-evangelical-roots-of-our-post-truth-society.html

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/11/us/alabama-
governor-robert-bentley-sex-scandal.html

 

 

 

 

2016

 

http://www.npr.org/2016/11/01/
500105245/evangelicals-consider-whether-god-really-cares-how-they-vote

 

http://www.npr.org/2016/11/01/
500183772/evangelicals-face-a-gender-split-over-trump

 

http://www.npr.org/2016/10/23/
498890836/poll-white-evangelicals-have-warmed-to-politicians-who-commit-immoral-acts

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/26/
books/tim-lahaye-a-christian-fundamentalist-leader-dies-at-90.html

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/07/25/
487382209/tim-lahaye-evangelical-legend-behind-left-behind-series-dies-at-90

 

http://www.npr.org/2016/06/21/
483018976/inside-trumps-closed-door-meeting-held-to-reassures-the-evangelicals

 

http://www.npr.org/2016/06/21/
482981933/donald-trump-meets-evangelical-leaders-in-new-york

 

http://www.npr.org/2016/05/16/
478176365/many-evangelicals-are-in-an-awkward-place-with-trump-atop-gop

 

http://www.npr.org/2016/05/10/
476651373/as-u-s-attitudes-change-some-evangelicals-dig-in-others-adapt

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/06/
opinion/a-white-church-no-more.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/03/07/
what-does-it-mean-to-be-evangelical-today

 

http://www.npr.org/2016/03/06/
469371887/pastor-max-lucado-still-baffled-over-evangelical-trump-supporters

 

http://www.npr.org/2016/03/22/
471474815/republican-support-for-israel-linked-to-evangelical-ties

 

http://www.npr.org/2016/02/25/
468149440/why-do-evangelicals-support-donald-trump-a-pastor-explains

 

http://www.npr.org/2016/02/21/
467582494/the-true-number-of-evangelical-voters-depends-on-who-you-ask

 

http://www.npr.org/2016/03/14/
470347740/gop-mystery-why-do-many-evangelicals-back-donald-trump

 

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/03/07/
what-does-it-mean-to-be-evangelical-today/trump-is-compatible-
with-many-evangelicals-leadership-style

 

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/03/07/
what-does-it-mean-to-be-evangelical-today

 

http://www.npr.org/2016/03/06/
469371887/pastor-max-lucado-still-baffled-over-evangelical-trump-supporters

 

http://www.npr.org/2016/03/03/
469005685/evangelical-leaders-question-why-their-movement-supports-trump

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/02/
opinion/evangelicals-and-donald-trump.html

 

http://www.npr.org/2016/02/29/
468553304/as-evangelicals-lose-faith-in-cruz-his-campaign-could-be-beyond-resurrection

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/
opinion/sunday/who-are-the-gay-evangelicals.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/23/us/
some-evangelicals-struggle-with-black-lives-matter-movement.html

 

http://www.npr.org/2016/02/21/
467582494/the-true-number-of-evangelical-voters-depends-on-who-you-ask

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/31/
magazine/ted-cruzs-evangelical-gamble.html

 

http://www.npr.org/2016/01/31/
465047357/i-m-not-electing-a-pastor-in-chief-how-iowa-s-evangelicals-are-deciding

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/19/us/
politics/evangelicals-see-donald-trump-as-man-of-conviction-if-not-faith.html

 

 

 

 

2015

 

http://www.npr.org/2015/12/19/
458058251/are-you-an-evangelical-are-you-sure

 

http://www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/100000004005499/
would-jesus-wear-a-sidearm.html - Oct. 30, 2015

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/29/us/
with-same-sex-decision-evangelical-churches-address-new-reality.html

 

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32710444 - 12 May 2015

 

 

 

 

2013

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/14/us/
chuck-smith-minister-who-preached-to-flower-children-dies-at-86.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/22/
opinion/sunday/the-evangelical-orphan-boom.html

 

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-22526252 - 17 May 2013

 

 

 

 

2012

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/16/
opinion/sunday/the-decline-of-evangelical-america.html

 

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-20649525 - 12 December 2012

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/us/
politics/conservative-religious-leaders-seeking-unity-vote-to-back-rick-santorum.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/us/
politics/evangelical-christians-unease-with-romney-is-theological.html

 

 

 

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6648265.stm - 15 May 2007

 

 

 

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/5193092.stm - 19 July 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USA > Evangelical Christianity, Evangelicals, Evangelical churches > abuse

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/10/
us/southern-baptist-convention-sex-abuse.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

evangelical pastor

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/07/25/
487382209/tim-lahaye-evangelical-legend-behind-left-behind-series-dies-at-90

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

megachurch pastor

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/07/25/
487382209/tim-lahaye-evangelical-legend-behind-left-behind-series-dies-at-90

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

evangelist

 

https://www.npr.org/2018/02/24/
587809173/billy-graham-walked-a-line-and-regretted-crossing-over-it-when-it-came-to-politi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian fundamentalist movement > fundamentalist leader

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/26/
books/tim-lahaye-a-christian-fundamentalist-leader-dies-at-90.html

 

 

 

 

The 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals

leader > Rev. Ted Haggard

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-11-02-
evangical-sex-claims_x.htm

 

 

 

 

America's Evangelicals in 2004

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/jesus/evangelicals/ 

 

 

 

 

a wildly successful free Bible app, YouVersion,

is changing how, where and when they read the Bible.

 

Built by LifeChurch.tv,

one of the nation’s largest

and most technologically advanced

evangelical churches,

YouVersion is part of what the church

calls its “digital missions.”        2013

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/27/
technology/the-faithful-embrace-youversion-a-bible-app.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No caption. Undated.

 

N.Y. / Region|Side Street

Accusations of Racism in a Brooklyn Lutheran Community

By DAVID GONZALEZ        NYT        MARCH 16, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/17/nyregion/
accusations-of-racism-in-a-brooklyn-lutheran-community.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

America's top evangelical group /

largest Protestant denomination in the United States > Southern Baptists

 

https://www.npr.org/2021/06/15/
1006480632/southern-baptists-meet-to-grapple-with-race-gender-equality-and-sexual-abuse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USA > The seven largest mainline Protestant denominations        2006

 

United Methodist

 

Evangelical Lutheran

 

Episcopal

 

Presbyterian Church

 

Disciples of Christ

 

United Church of Christ

 

American Baptist Churches

 

http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2006-10-31-
protestant-cover_x.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Presbyterian Church        USA

 

historic mainline Protestant denomination

that spans a broad spectrum

from liberal to conservative evangelicals

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/20/us/
presbyterians-vote-to-change-definition-of-marriage-to-two-people.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/18/us/
presbyterians-give-final-approval-for-same-sex-marriage.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/20/us/
presbyterians-vote-to-change-definition-of-marriage-to-two-people.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lutheran Church in America        USA

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/24/us/
24marshall.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evangelical Lutheran Church > First transgender bishop        USA

 

https://www.npr.org/2021/09/11/
1036371531/evangelical-lutheran-church-first-transgender-bishop-megan-rohrer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church        USA

 

http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2006-10-31-
protestant-cover_x.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trinity Lutheran Church        Brooklyn , NY        USA

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/17/nyregion/
accusations-of-racism-in-a-brooklyn-lutheran-community.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pentecostal evangelist > Granville Oral Roberts        USA        1918-2009

 

https://www.nytimes.com/topic/person/oral-roberts 

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/16/us/
16roberts.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corpus of news articles

 

Religions, Faith >

 

Christians > Protestants >

 

Churches, Denominations > USA >

 

Evangelicals
 

 

 

 

The Political Pulpit

 

September 30, 2011

The New York Times

By STEPHANIE STROM

 

This weekend, hundreds of pastors, including some of the nation’s evangelical leaders, will climb into their pulpits to preach about American politics, flouting a decades-old law that prohibits tax-exempt churches and other charities from campaigning on election issues.

The sermons, on what is called Pulpit Freedom Sunday, essentially represent a form of biblical bait, an effort by some churches to goad the Internal Revenue Service into court battles over the divide between religion and politics.

The Alliance Defense Fund, a nonprofit legal defense group whose founders include James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, sponsors the annual event, which started with 33 pastors in 2008. This year, Glenn Beck has been promoting it, calling for 1,000 religious leaders to sign on and generating additional interest at the beginning of a presidential election cycle.

“There should be no government intrusion in the pulpit,” said the Rev. James Garlow, senior pastor at Skyline Church in La Mesa, Calif., who led preachers in the battle to pass California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage. “The freedom of speech and the freedom of religion promised under the First Amendment means pastors have full authority to say what they want to say.”

Mr. Garlow said he planned to inveigh against same-sex marriage, abortion and other touchstone issues that social conservatives oppose, and some ministers may be ready to encourage parishioners to vote only for those candidates who adhere to the same views or values.

“I tell them that as followers of Christ, you wouldn’t vote for someone who was against what God said in his word,” Mr. Garlow said. “I will, in effect, oppose several candidates and — de facto — endorse others.”

Two Republican candidates in particular, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, would presumably benefit from some pulpit politics on Sunday, since they have been courting Christian conservatives this year.

Participating ministers plan to send tapes of their sermons to the I.R.S., effectively providing the agency with evidence it could use to take them to court.

But if history is any indication, the I.R.S. may continue to steer clear of the taunts.

“It’s frustrating,” said Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel at Alliance Defense. “The law is on the books but they don’t enforce it, leaving churches in limbo.”

Supporters of the law are equally vexed by the tax agency’s perceived inaction. “We have grave concerns over the current inability of the I.R.S. to enforce the federal tax laws applicable to churches,” a group of 13 ministers in Ohio wrote in a letter to the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, in July.

Marcus Owens, the lawyer representing the Ohio ministers, warned that the I.R.S.’s failure to pursue churches for politicking violations would encourage more donations to support their efforts, taking further advantage of the new leeway given to advocacy groups under the Supreme Court’s decision last year in the Citizens United case.

Lois G. Lerner, director of the agency’s Exempt Organizations Division, said in an e-mail that “education has been and remains the first goal of the I.R.S.’s program on political activity by tax-exempt organizations.” The agency has posted “guidance” on what churches can and cannot do on its Web site.

The agency says it has continued to do audits of some churches, but those are not disclosed. Mr. Stanley, Mr. Owens and other lawyers say they are virtually certain it has no continuing audits of church political activity, an issue that has been a source of contention in recent elections.

The alliance and many other advocates regard a 1954 law prohibiting churches and their leaders from engaging in political campaigning as a violation of the First Amendment and wish to see the issue played out in court. The organization points to the rich tradition of political activism by churches in some of the nation’s most controversial battles, including the pre-Revolutionary war opposition to taxation by the British, slavery and child labor.

The legislation, sponsored by Lyndon Baines Johnson, then a senator, muzzled all charities in regards to partisan politics, and its impact on churches may have been an unintended consequence. At the time, he was locked in a battle with two nonprofit groups that were loudly calling him a closet communist.

Thirty years later, a group of senators led by Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, passed legislation to try to rein in the agency a bit in doing some audits. While audits of churches continued over the years, they appeared to have slowed down considerably after a judge rebuffed the agency’s actions in a case involving the Living Word Christian Center and a supposed endorsement of Ms. Bachmann in 2007. The I.R.S. had eliminated positions through a reorganization, and therefore, according to the judge, had not followed the law when determining who could authorize such audits.

Sarah Hall Ingram, the I.R.S. commissioner responsible for the division that oversees nonprofit groups, said the agency was still investigating such cases. “We have churches under audit,” Ms. Hall Ingram said. “Maybe they just aren’t the clients of the people you’re talking to.”

None of the churches involved in previous pulpit Sunday events have received anything beyond a form letter from the I.R.S. thanking them for the tapes, Mr. Stanley said. “They haven’t done anything to clarify what the law is and what pastors can and can’t say,“ he said.

Mr. Owens, the lawyer representing the Ohio churches, said that Ms. Lerner had told a meeting of state charity regulators in late 2009 that the agency was no longer doing such audits. “I have not heard of a single church audit since then,” Mr. Owens said.

He said the agency could have churches under audit for civil fraud or criminal investigation. “I know of at least one of those,” he said.

Ms. Lerner said she could not recall what she had said at the meeting. Grant Williams, an I.R.S. spokesman, declined to describe the type of church audits the agency was doing or their number.

Last year, the I.R.S. also quietly ceased its Political Activities Compliance Initiative, under which it issued reports in 2004 and 2006 detailing its findings of illegal political campaigning by charities, including churches.

Paul Streckfus, a former I.R.S. official who publishes a newsletter about legal and tax developments in the tax-exempt world, said the reports had served as an alert. “They also gave us some idea of how big the problem of noncompliance actually was, and that the I.R.S. was actually doing something about it,” Mr. Streckfus said.

Mr. Garlow said he planned to outline where the candidates stood on various issues and then discuss what the Bible said about those issues, calling on church members to stand by their religious principles.

“The Bible says render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s,” he said. “But Caesar is demanding more and more of what was once considered God’s matter, and pastors have been bullied and intimidated enough.”

The Political Pulpit,
NYT,
30.9.2011,
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/01/
business/flouting-the-law-pastors-will-take-on-politics.html

 

 

 

 

 

Bad Times

Draw Bigger Crowds to Churches

 

December 14, 2008

The New York Times

By PAUL VITELLO

 

The sudden crush of worshipers packing the small evangelical Shelter Rock Church in Manhasset, N.Y. — a Long Island hamlet of yacht clubs and hedge fund managers — forced the pastor to set up an overflow room with closed-circuit TV and 100 folding chairs, which have been filled for six Sundays straight.

In Seattle, the Mars Hill Church, one of the fastest-growing evangelical churches in the country, grew to 7,000 members this fall, up 1,000 in a year. At the Life Christian Church in West Orange, N.J., prayer requests have doubled — almost all of them aimed at getting or keeping jobs.

Like evangelical churches around the country, the three churches have enjoyed steady growth over the last decade. But since September, pastors nationwide say they have seen such a burst of new interest that they find themselves contending with powerful conflicting emotions — deep empathy and quiet excitement — as they re-encounter an old piece of religious lore:

Bad times are good for evangelical churches.

“It’s a wonderful time, a great evangelistic opportunity for us,” said the Rev. A. R. Bernard, founder and senior pastor of the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, New York’s largest evangelical congregation, where regulars are arriving earlier to get a seat. “When people are shaken to the core, it can open doors.”

Nationwide, congregations large and small are presenting programs of practical advice for people in fiscal straits — from a homegrown series on “Financial Peace” at a Midtown Manhattan church called the Journey, to the “Good Sense” program developed at the 20,000-member Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., and now offered at churches all over the country.

Many ministers have for the moment jettisoned standard sermons on marriage and the Beatitudes to preach instead about the theological meaning of the downturn.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses, who moved much of their door-to-door evangelizing to the night shift 10 years ago because so few people were home during the day, returned to daylight witnessing this year. “People are out of work, and they are answering the door,” said a spokesman, J. R. Brown.

Mr. Bernard plans to start 100 prayer groups next year, using a model conceived by the megachurch pastor Rick Warren, to “foster spiritual dialogue in these times” in small gatherings around the city.

A recent spot check of some large Roman Catholic parishes and mainline Protestant churches around the nation indicated attendance increases there, too. But they were nowhere near as striking as those reported by congregations describing themselves as evangelical, a term generally applied to churches that stress the literal authority of Scripture and the importance of personal conversion, or being “born again.”

Part of the evangelicals’ new excitement is rooted in a communal belief that the big Christian revivals of the 19th century, known as the second and third Great Awakenings, were touched off by economic panics. Historians of religion do not buy it, but the notion “has always lived in the lore of evangelism,” said Tony Carnes, a sociologist who studies religion.

A study last year may lend some credence to the legend. In “Praying for Recession: The Business Cycle and Protestant Religiosity in the United States,” David Beckworth, an assistant professor of economics at Texas State University, looked at long-established trend lines showing the growth of evangelical congregations and the decline of mainline churches and found a more telling detail: During each recession cycle between 1968 and 2004, the rate of growth in evangelical churches jumped by 50 percent. By comparison, mainline Protestant churches continued their decline during recessions, though a bit more slowly.

The little-noticed study began receiving attention from some preachers in September, when the stock market began its free fall. With the swelling attendance they were seeing, and a sense that worldwide calamities come along only once in an evangelist’s lifetime, the study has encouraged some to think big.

“I found it very exciting, and I called up that fellow to tell him so,” said the Rev. Don MacKintosh, a Seventh Day Adventist televangelist in California who contacted Dr. Beckworth a few weeks ago after hearing word of his paper from another preacher. “We need to leverage this moment, because every Christian revival in this country’s history has come off a period of rampant greed and fear. That’s what we’re in today — the time of fear and greed.”

Frank O’Neill, 54, a manager who lost his job at Morgan Stanley this year, said the “humbling experience” of unemployment made him cast about for a more personal relationship with God than he was able to find in the Catholicism of his youth. In joining the Shelter Rock Church on Long Island, he said, he found a deeper sense of “God’s authority over everything — I feel him walking with me.”

The sense of historic moment is underscored especially for evangelicals in New York who celebrated the 150th anniversary last year of the Fulton Street Prayer Revival, one of the major religious resurgences in America. Also known as the Businessmen’s Revival, it started during the Panic of 1857 with a noon prayer meeting among traders and financiers in Manhattan’s financial district.

Over the next few years, it led to tens of thousands of conversions in the United States, and inspired the volunteerism movement behind the founding of the Salvation Army, said the Rev. McKenzie Pier, president of the New York City Leadership Center, an evangelical pastors’ group that marked the anniversary with a three-day conference at the Hilton New York. “The conditions of the Businessmen’s Revival bear great similarities to what’s going on today,” he said. “People are losing a lot of money.”

But why the evangelical churches seem to thrive especially in hard times is a Rorschach test of perspective.

For some evangelicals, the answer is obvious. ”We have the greatest product on earth,” said the Rev. Steve Tomlinson, senior pastor of the Shelter Rock Church.

Dr. Beckworth, a macroeconomist, posited another theory: though expanding demographically since becoming the nation’s largest religious group in the 1990s, evangelicals as a whole still tend to be less affluent than members of mainline churches, and therefore depend on their church communities more during tough times, for material as well as spiritual support. In good times, he said, they are more likely to work on Sundays, which may explain a slower rate of growth among evangelical churches in nonrecession years.

Msgr. Thomas McSweeney, who writes columns for Catholic publications and appears on MSNBC as a religion consultant, said the growth is fed by evangelicals’ flexibility: “Their tradition allows them to do things from the pulpit we don’t do — like ‘Hey! I need somebody to take Mrs. McSweeney to the doctor on Tuesday,’ or ‘We need volunteers at the soup kitchen tomorrow.’ ”

In a cascading financial crisis, he said, a pastor can discard a sermon prescribed by the liturgical calendar and directly address the anxiety in the air. “I know a lot of you are feeling pain today,” he said, as if speaking from the pulpit. “And we’re going to do something about that.”

But a recession also means fewer dollars in the collection basket.

Few evangelical churches have endowments to compare with the older mainline Protestant congregations.

“We are at the front end of a $10 million building program,” said the Rev. Terry Smith, pastor of the Life Christian Church in West Orange, N.J. “Am I worried about that? Yes. But right now, I’m more worried about my congregation.” A husband and wife, he said, were both fired the same day from Goldman Sachs; another man inherited the workload of four co-workers who were let go, and expects to be the next to leave. “Having the conversations I’m having,” Mr. Smith said, “it’s hard to think about anything else.”

At the Shelter Rock Church, many newcomers have been invited by members who knew they had recently lost jobs. On a recent Sunday, new faces included a hedge fund manager and an investment banker, both laid off, who were friends of Steve Leondis, a cheerful business executive who has been a church member for four years. The two newcomers, both Catholics, declined to be interviewed, but Mr. Leondis said they agreed to attend Shelter Rock to hear Mr. Tomlinson’s sermon series, “Faith in Unstable Times.”

“They wanted something that pertained to them,” he said, “some comfort that pertained to their situations.”

Mr. Tomlinson and his staff in Manhasset and at a satellite church in nearby Syosset have recently discussed hiring an executive pastor to take over administrative work, so they can spend more time pastoring.

“There are a lot of walking wounded in this town,” he said.

Bad Times Draw Bigger Crowds to Churches,
NYT,
14.12.2008,
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/14/
nyregion/14churches.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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