Living Questions is our monthly series in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere. This series is produced in partnership with the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies. Today, Tom has a conversation about inclusiveness in faith congregations. What does it mean for a place of worship to be open and welcoming? Tom and his guests examine that not just from a theological perspective, but also, in light of the murders at a church in Charleston this year, or at a mosque in Wisconsin a few years ago. What are the tensions that faith institutions face between openness and basic security in their buildings.
Our guests this morning are the dynamic leaders of two congregations in Baltimore who have increased their membership since their tenures began. Rabbi Daniel Cotzin Burg has been the Rabbi at Beth Am Congregation in Reservoir Hill since 2010. Reverend Andrew Foster Connors is the Senior Pastor at Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church, a position he has held for the past 11 years. He is also the co-chair of BUILD, Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development.
Organized religion has more than a few reasons to feel insecure. A report about the Changing Landscape of Religion in the United States released a couple of months ago by the Pew Research Center found that the number of Americans who describe themselves as unaffiliated with any religion has jumped nearly 7% in the last seven years.