Could re-branding rouse the dwindling mainline Protestant troops?
The dozen church groups under the mainline umbrella — including United Methodists, Episcopalians, Evangelical Lutherans, Presbyterians (USA) and American Baptists — have been flagging for years. Mainline Protestants made up 18 percent of U.S. adults in 2008. Fifty years ago, its members were the church of the Establishment.
Scholar and Presbyterian pastor Carol Merritt recently suggested a new name might stem the slide, especially if it conveys the Mainline’s rising diversity and social justice leadership:
“I, for one, am tired of pretending that we want to hang out at the Country Club and eat cucumber sandwiches in fancy hats. We are not some sort of upper-crust elite society.”
So we wondered what a new name might be.