Congregations and Public Life Project

Religious Studies Program 
Geographic Area Served

Project Description
Congregations and Public Life is a major national study of the impact of democratic engagement on Latino, African-American, Anglo, and immigrant congregations in low- and middle-income settings in thirteen cities. Created in response to common perception that thriving congregations and vigorous engagement in the public realm in support of poor communities were antithetical.Through interviews, surveys, and participant-observation in 44 mainline Protestant, Catholic, Evangelical, historic Black Protestant, Jewish, Pentecostal, Unitarian-Universalist, Muslim, and Unity congregations, we examine the dynamics through which faith-based community organizing contributes to strengthening congregations (or fails to do so). This project is done in collaboration with Interfaith Funders of New York, and funded by the Ford Foundation. Objectives: 1. Academic research on the dynamics through which civic engagement strengthens or undermines diverse religious congregations. 2. Shape the thinking of religious leaders, funders, and scholars regarding the relationship of civic engagement and healthy congregations. 3. Provide tools to funders and religious leaders to build thriving congregations in diverse faith traditions (Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Unitarian, Unity, evangelical Christian, etc.) in diverse communities. Project is coordinated by Dr. Richard Wood

Contact Information:
Location Mailing Address
UNM - Main Campus
Southwest Institute on Religion & Civil Society
Hokona-Zuni #40
 UNM Main Campus
MSC 02 1610
Email Telephone
Dr. Richard Wood
Southwest Institute on Religion and Civil Society

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