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“We have 1,600 volunteers. … We’ve got really strong support from within our parish,” she said. “If we didn’t have something that people felt good about and were excited about, it wouldn’t have lasted this long. For us, it’s become part of the fabric of our parish community.”
Making churches seem hip
Churches in many denominations have been spurred to action after watching their attendance fall year after year, particularly among young people. Surveys show that about a third of U.S. adults under age 30 are religiously unaffiliated, and churches are constantly searching for ways to get them into the pews.
“They’re scratching their heads trying to figure out how to get young people because young people aren’t nearly as churched as they used to be,” said Robert Wuthnow, director of the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University and author of “All in Sync: How Music and Art Are Revitalizing American Religion.”
A growing number of primarily Catholic and mainline Protestant churches are holding these types of musical festivals as a way to spark interest in their congregations, he said.
“That’s precisely the point, to try to make churches that didn’t seem hip, seem hip to younger people. They often can’t change the architecture because it’s been there 100 years or the doctrine or the Sunday preaching. … [A music festival] gives a different image.”
For Transfiguration’s annual festival, church leaders decided this year to put more resources into a line of musical acts, said organizer Rebecca Minogue. Performers will include Mark Andrew and Tim Mahoney, from NBC’s “The Voice.”
“We decided to have more of a music festival, with live music from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.,” Minogue said. “We have bands lined up for that whole time.
“It’s something people in this area enjoy, so why not try to tap into that?”
Rose French 612-673-4352