Religious vitality among the mainline
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Beginning in the 1960's, mainline Protestantism saw rates of participation begin to slip. As this trend has continued to follow a downward slope over recent decades, social scientific researchers on religion have been interested in this pattern of decline. As such, research has examined many diverse factors contributing to this pattern of mainline decline, including cultural, ecological, and demographic. However, amidst all the literature on "mainline decline," rarely have researchers considered the factors that have allowed the mainline to subsist. These factors are most likely neither demographic nor macro-level cultural forces. Instead, they are local elements of the church's organization and culture which are forged on a congregational level. As mainline churches confront dwindling participating rates and resources, they must learn to work within the contemporary context of religious pluralism and individualism to find ways of reinjecting the religious experience with salient meaning. This study looks at a Presbyterian church in-decline as it does just this, reinventing its identity and rearranging its organization to meet the needs of its members.