At a time when the church in the United States is struggling to make sense of its place in the public square, a space of inquiry is needed that intersects the work of religion scholars and local church pastors. What will the future of the church look like, and is there hope for transformation? Sacred Habits focuses upon an emerging future for the church, one that embraces creativity and experimentation in the pastorate in the midst of a context of rapid decline. It is written to encourage pastors to bring wisdom to the work of parish ministry through the use of creativity and experimentation; for seminarians who are anticipating entering the parish and seek practical wisdom from clergy and academics whose work impacts the local church; and for congregations who are in the process of examining how to engage in practices, habits, and creative ideas for the future of the church. Sacred Habits is a collection of essays from local clergy, scholars, authors, and entrepreneurs who are utilizing their own creative habits to transform the Church, a chorus of voices that are not afraid to see the future of the Church as a space that uses creativity as a model, all arguing that the work of the pastorate can be examined through the eyes of creativity, risk, experimentation, and a theology of hope; and that the work of habits and creativity can address the issues of how to lead, how to use creativity, and how to empower and enable local churches to thrive and to be engaged in their own future. The diversity of voices contained in this volume reminds us that we are in constant conversation about the future of our work as Church and that we can learn from one another's experiments in ministry.
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Rev. Chad R. Abbott is a pastor having served churches in both the United Methodist and United Church of Christ traditions. His area of focus and research lies in the field of spirituality and spiritual practices, especially as it relates to the work of interfaith dialogue. Abbott is a contributing author to the book The Justice Project and is the co-editor for the book Breaking Silence: Pastoral Approaches for Creating an Ethos of Peace. Abbott currently serves St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Alexandria, Kentucky.
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