We have received the following invitation from Rev. Sandy Strauss, Director of Advocacy and Ecumenical Outreach for the Pennsylvania Council of Churches:


Dr. Ryan P. Burge will be joining the Pennsylvania Council of Churches on November 17, 2021, at 10:00 am to lead a virtual forum on his recent book, “The Nones: Where They Came From, Who They Are, and Where They Are Going.” The “Nones” are defined as Americans who say they have no religious affiliation. This event will take place just before the November Board meeting.

Options to register and view the forum are provided below. 

Following a high point in reported religious affiliation in the 1950s, research by organizations like the Pew Research Center and Gallup has shown a growing number of Americans who claim no formal religious identity (the “nones”). The General Social Survey of 1972 indicated that only 5 percent of Americans claimed no religion, but by 2018, the number had grown to 23.7 percent—a nearly five-fold increase, and making them as numerous as both evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics. Dr. Burge’s research suggests that the nones are on track to be the largest “religious group” over the next decade. 

Shrinking congregations have been a concern for mainline Protestant traditions for many years now, and Dr. Burge says that “churches are a leaky vessel by nature.” Aging populations and deaths have played into the scenario, as has inability to retain or attract younger populations. Congregations are often forced to reinvent themselves or close their doors. 

By identifying data showing how individuals move in and out of religion over time, Dr. Burge helps readers—and by extension, congregations and religious leaders—understand those who become nones and what factors lead them to return to religion. 

As noted on the back cover of the book:
"The Nones" gives readers a nuanced, accurate, and meaningful picture of the growing number of Americans who say they have no religious affiliation. Burge explains how this rise happened, who the nones are, and what they mean for the future of American religion. 

Dr. Ryan P. Burge  is an assistant professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University. Author of numerous journal articles, he is the cofounder and a frequent contributor to Religion in Public, a forum for scholars of religion and politics to make their work accessible to a general audience. He has also been a regular contributor to the New York Times. Burge is a pastor in the American Baptist Church. Click here for a more extensive bio. 

Registrations are open at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-nones-where-they-came-from-who-they-are-and-where-they-are-going-tickets-203345420627 for limited numbers to view on Zoom. Those wishing to indicate interest prior to the event may do so at https://www.facebook.com/events/4913225665371316, and it may be viewed on Facebook Live at https://www.facebook.com/live. Download a flyer here

For more information about this event, feel free to contact me at [email protected]
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