Few things impact us like our faith.
According to the most recent Gallup Poll, about 43 percent of us say we attend church weekly or almost weekly. That's been pretty steady over the past three years.
Those who live in Mississippi are the most frequent churchgoers in the nation, with 63 percent reported attendance. Nine of the top 10 states in church attendance are in the South; the only non-Southern state is Utah, with 56 percent frequent attendance.
Alabama at 58, South Carolina at 56, Louisiana at 56, Utah at 56, Tennessee at 54, Arkansas at 53, North Carolina at 53, Georgia at 51, and Texas at 50, follow.
Vermont residents go to church the least, with 23 percent saying they attend. Other states at the bottom of church attendance are in either New England or the West.
In our region, Missouri has about a 45 percent church attendance, Kansas 46, and Oklahoma 49.
Southern states have high proportions of residents who identify as Protestant Christians -- faith traditions with high average church attendance levels. Residents of New England, the Northwest, and other Western states are more likely to have no religious identity, usually associated with low church attendance, noted the Gallup Poll results.
The majority of Utah residents are Mormons, a group with the highest average church attendance level of any major religious group in the country, noted the authors of the poll.
Next to our schools and their impact on our lives, our area churches provide a framework for religious pursuit and socialization.
A community is often characterized by its volunteer and selfless endeavors and our churches provide a foundation for that outreach.
Because of this deep connection, we feel this is an important area of our newspaper coverage.
We'd like to hear from you and your church, big or small, about what's going on.
If you have a new youth minister, if your church is hosting a revival or a special event, we'd like to know about it.
We'd like to know about the various church and community groups that meet at your building and what your sermon topic is going to be for the coming service.
Additionally, we'd like to profile a different church each week, highlighting each of our churches over the course of our coverage.
Our Friday edition lists 59 churches in our immediate area. Doubtless, there are others as well.
Many churches have special services recognizing their leaders or members of their congregation. There are often events, such as those centered on the holidays that would be worth noting.
It's our intent to provide the information that you, our readers, look for and want. And you can help us.
Items from your church will help us keep everyone informed on what's happening in our communities.
You may e-mail your submissions to us via our lifestyles editor, Sharyon Duke, at email@example.com. Be sure to copy myself, firstname.lastname@example.org and our editor, Lynn Wade, at email@example.com to ensure we're covered when someone is out on vacation or ill.
Be sure to send your weekly submissions each Wednesday by 5 p.m. so we have them in plenty of time for Friday's edition. If you're going to be late, be sure to call us at 667-3344 and let us know and we'll do our best to accommodate that.
Thanks in advance for your contributions.