A Communications Ministry
Protestant, Orthodox, and Episcopal Churches
of Greater Chicago
in cooperation with
The Council of Religious Leaders
of Metropolitan Chicago
Sunday, September 6, 13, 20, 27
on ABC's The Localish Network
The story of Seminary in Exile, or SEMINEX. In 1974, Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest, Illinois and hundreds more like it across America, were torn apart when a dispute at the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod's Seminary in St.Louis Missouri led to a split in that denomination, and forever changed the landscape of American Christianity.
Winner of a Chicago/Midwest Emmy Award: Best Public Affairs Series
An In-depth documentary journal on religion and culture on the Localish Network, ABC-7.2, shot on location and edited by Tim Frakes Productions, with Lydia Talbot.
A Message from the Chair of the Board of Directors
Once again, it is my task to reflect on the stewardship of our mission this past year and to contemplate what our journey should look like for our 65th Season. I find it most pertinent that I get to do this at the time of the year when many of us will give thought to saints who have gone before us. In this regard, I cannot help but pause and give thanks for the blessed memory of Alice Schoeneberger, Rev. Paul Rutgers, and Rev. Jerome Adams. We remember them, and numerous others, over the span of our organization’s years with both appreciation and thanksgiving as they cheer us on in what for us is a more challenging time.
A recently released Pew Research Center study (October 17, 2019) highlights the decline of Christianity in the United States. It gives credibility to what many of us may be seeing and experiencing in our congregations. It also highlights the necessity of continued sharing of our vital mission and Christian witness:
Currently, 43% of U.S. adults identify with Protestantism, down from 51% in 2009.
Self-described atheists now account for 4% of U.S. adults, up modestly but significantly from 2% in 2009.
Agnostics make up 5% of U.S. adults, up from 3% a decade ago; and 17% of Americans now describe their religion as “nothing in particular,” up from 12% in 2009.
More Americans now say they attend religious services a few times a year or less (54%) than say they attend at least monthly (45%).
The Christian share of the population is down and religious “nones” have grown across multiple demographic groups: white people, black people and Hispanics; men and women; in all regions of the country; and among college graduates and those with lower levels of educational attainment.
More than eight-in-ten members of the Silent Generation (those born between 1928 and 1945) describe themselves as Christians (84%), as do three-quarters of Baby Boomers (76%). In stark contrast, only half of Millennials (49%) describe themselves as Christians; four-in-ten are religious “nones,” and one-in-ten Millennials identify with non-Christian faiths.
Today, 17% of Americans say they never attend religious services, up from 11% a decade ago.
Given the present trajectory of the Christian witness in our country, and more particularly, that of our constituent congregations, I believe you will agree that it is more important than ever to continue to steward this legacy entrusted to us.
Join me now in thanking Executive Director, Lydia Talbot, and Producer/Editor Eric Diekhans who day-in and day-out share the lion size of this stewardship responsibility. Additionally we say, “thank you,” to various volunteers, donors, and our local CBS and ABC affiliated stations with their volunteer crews who make our witness one of a kind in a day when the word of the Lord is rare.
Rev. Myron McCoy
Senior Pastor, First United Methodist Church Chicago Temple