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The Twentysomething SoulUnderstanding the Religious and Secular Lives of American Young Adults$
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Tim Clydesdale and Kathleen Garces-Foley

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190931353

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190931353.001.0001

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Mainline Protestants

Mainline Protestants

(p.80) Chapter 4 Mainline Protestants
The Twentysomething Soul

Tim Clydesdale

Kathleen Garces-Foley

Oxford University Press

One out of 7 American twentysomethings affiliate with a Mainline denomination, and 33% of Mainline Protestant twentysomethings attend worship a couple of times monthly or more. Drawing from ethnographies of an arts-focused multiracial church, a small emerging church, and a Midwestern family church, this chapter describes why and how religiously active “Mainliners” seek out these church communities. Through analysis of in-depth interviews, it identifies what draws them to church when so many of their peers are wary of churches and what kinds of churches appeal to religiously active Mainliners. This chapter also describes the distinctive strategies deployed by Mainline congregations to attract young adults and how these differ in urban and Midwestern contexts. Then the chapter turns to results from our national survey of twentysomethings and applies the Active, Nominal, and Estranged typology to examine the religious, spiritual, and secular lives of Mainliner twentysomethings.

Keywords:   Mainline Protestant, inclusive, Midwestern, Methodist, Episcopalian, social justice, progressive, activists, family-oriented, LGBTQ

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