The power of narrative or story in shaping Scripture, proclamation, and the individual Christian has been studied extensively in recent years. This ground-breaking volume shows the power of narrative at work in the congregation and equips church leaders to discover the unique language and shared stories of their own community of faith. Dr. James Hopewell, who died in 1984, had learned as a missionary in Africa to analyze story as a formative element in community life. This posthumously published study applies the methods of a cultural antropologist to American church life. Unlike some who are cynical and despairing about congregational life in this country, the author finds it a "thick gathering" - a complex but hopeful blend of myths and meaning that give significance to every activity, regardless of how trivial it may seem. He affirms that "even a plain church on a pale day catches one in a deep current of narrative interpretation and representation by which people give sense and order to their lives".