This announcement is on the CHARIS web page.
At a special meeting on August 29, 2007, the Board of Directors of the Center for the Humanities, Arts, and Religion in Society (CHARIS) voted unanimously to continue the suspension of CHARIS' operations. This decision was made because the members of the Board were unable to agree upon CHARIS'' activities during the next year.
Dr. Mark Braun
Chairman, CHARIS Board of Directors
"However, Church & Change is alive and well. The rumors of its demise have been highly exaggerated, sadly."
From Rob on Point:
Charis found that schools stunted congregation growth
Before WELS' COP emasculated WLC's Charis, a Charis research study announced the discovery of a few large, growing WELS congregations. The study did not name those congregations publicly. Perhaps anonymity was supposed to preserve their virgin condition. Charis hoped for follow-on study of the pastors involved. The new, reconstituted Charis may loath opening old wounds, so we may never know their names or stories.
The problem with the old Charis was they used WELS' Statistical Reports to arrive at unpopular conclusions. When Charis analyzed all 1000+ WELS congregations and concluded that LES and ECE programs stunted congregation growth, Charis had to go.
Synods are job programs, and the mission of the COP is to make sure that every MLC grad who wants to work has employment for life. WELS rationalizes overspending on schools (schools are jobs) by insisting that schools are outreach. Charis challenged that pillar of faith.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Charis/Church and Change":
I believe the people who justify schools on the basis of "outreach" are much less numerous than those who still hold that Lutheran education on the elementary level is worth any cost. In fact, the "schools as outreach" notion is generally vigorously opposed by the same kinds of people who oppose all the CG, C&C junk that's floating around.
So, CharÃs is unpopular not because their findings go against "outreach" or "jobs," but because a large number of Wisconsin Synod Lutherans feel that Lutheran education is worth the money. Furthermore, CharÃs is unpopular because they take something like schools (a noble undertaking) and turn it into just another factor in the ever-growing algorithm of Church Growth.
The Glory Has Departed
Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence
Bethany Lutheran Worship on