The work and organisation of local churches and synagogues : four English congregations in the 1990s
This thesis is about the work and organisation of local religious congregations in England. It focuses on the congregation of two religions- Christianity and Judaism; that is, on 'churches' and 'synagogues'. In Chapter One, the study is positioned within the academic field of social policy and administration. Chapters Two, Three and Four review literature on the historical and societal context within which churches and synagogues operate, the role of religious functionaries and organisational features of congregations. Four organisational themes cutting across denominational and religious boundaries are identified: purposes and goals; roles and role relationships; organisational change; and denominational institutions. Chapter Five develops an approach for an empirical study and gives an account of fieldwork in an inner-city Roman Catholic church; a black-led Pentecostal church in an industrial town; an Anglican church on a housing estate; and a suburban Reform synagogue. Organisational features of the four case congregations are presented in Chapter Six. In the following four chapters the organisational issues which arise in the Congregations are described and analysed. Chapter Seven presents the perceived Issues in congregations around setting and implementing goals. Chapter Eight looks at clerical roles and Chapter Nine at the roles of lay employees and volunteers. Chapter Ten discusses organisational change, the links between congregations and their denominational institutions, and organisational structures. Finally, in Chapter Eleven, the study findings are drawn together and re-examined in the light of the earlier literature. The way in which the case studies elucidate and develop knowledge about the work and organisation of congregations is discussed. It is suggested that further progress towards the development of theory on congregation organisation could be made by conceptualising congregations as voluntary organisations.