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One of the first, and most important, relationships my wife and I will establish in our new hometown is with a church. A close second is with a barista/coffee shop, but that’s a conversation for another day.

Over two Sundays we have been able to attend six services, made possible by the fact that so many churches have multiple services. Most Bismarck churches have two Sunday services while many have three.

Dawn Kopp, executive director of the Downtown Business Association, told me that Bismarck has one of the highest church attendance rates of any city in the U.S.

I found one study that puts regular church attendance in Bismarck at 64 percent, a figure that easily ranks it among the highest attendance rates in the nation.

Studies aside, it’s apparent when you drive around town and see so many large churches with full parking lots.

No other local activity comes close to claiming as many adherents with regular (at least monthly) attendance approaching 87,000 people in Bismarck-Mandan, and for that reason faith-oriented news and information will have a more prominent place in the Tribune.

While faith may not be the focus of the daily news, many stories that find their way into our paper certainly have a faith angle, and we will explore those angles.

In matters such as homelessness, hunger and drug and alcohol abuse churches and other faith-based organizations often play a significant role in addressing the problem.

Finding a local congregation where we can do our part is important on a personal level, but on a professional level, I don’t check my faith at the door.

Faith is both a noun and a verb, but to paraphrase James 2:17, faith as a noun only, is dead.

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Gary Adkisson is publisher of the Bismarck Tribune.