Grant Us Courage : Travels Along the Mainline of American Protestantism
A sequel to the author's successful Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory (OUP 1989), this book consists of twelve profiles of "great" mainline churches. Commissioned by The Christian Century magazine over a period of four years, the profiles show that not everything is as bad in mainline Protestantism as some have argued. Balmer's vivid and absorbing depictions of these congregations raise hope for the future of the mainline while still pointing to its grave and persistent troubles.
- Hardback | 176 pages
- 148.6 x 218.2 x 19.3mm | 330.38g
- 18 Jan 1996
- Oxford University Press Inc
- New York, United States
Back cover copy
Balmer crisscrosses America to give us a first-hand look at how Christianity has fared in the last half-century. What emerges is a church challenged by diminished influence, but with signs of hope for the future. For instance, he takes us to West Hartford, Connecticut, where we learn how a gregarious pastor, Bob Heppenstall, rekindled the spirit of the First Church of Christ Congregational - still housed in its stately, classic New England meetinghouse - that had suffered from inept management until recent years. And in Ames, Iowa, at the Collegiate United Methodist Church, we watch George White struggle to regain his church's once dominant voice in the religious life of the town, a voice now dimmed by the growth of fundamentalism. Some churches have held steadfastly to long-established roles, such as Washington Prairie Lutheran Church, in Decorah, Iowa, which has been a model of continuity, serving its Norwegian-American community in much the same way since it was founded in 1851. And Balmer also visits some thriving churches, such as Hollywood's First Presbyterian Church, led by the great preacher John Lloyd Ogilvie, who was recently appointed chaplain of the U.S. Senate. In Minneapolis, Balmer encounters Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, a congregation that has not only increased its membership, but can now call itself the biggest Lutheran church in the world.
About Randall Balmer
Randall Balmer is Professor of Religion at Barnard College, Columbia University.