Regional ethnographic research

We will explore the lived experience of religious life and congregational innovation during the pandemic through the collection of 96 detailed ethnographic congregational studies. Partnering with scholars in eight metropolitan areas selected for their geographic variation and COVID-19 mortality rates, we will study 12 congregations that reflect the diversity of the Christian Church in the United States in terms of religious traditions, demographic markers, and liturgical expression at each site.

Led by our team of Regional Advisors, these congregational case studies will include multiple site visits, interviews, focus groups, key informant surveys, member surveys, and an analysis of the congregation’s response to the pandemic. 

Subscribe to our newsletter (form at the bottom of this page) and follow us on social media to be alerted when research findings are available.

Regional site locales

  • Hartford, CT
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Denver, CO
  • Waco, TX
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Suburban Los Angeles Long Beach
  • Rural exurban Atlanta

Regional site selection

Each regional site will collect information from a sampling of churches that exemplify a diversity of Christian traditions representative of their communities. In addition, we will consider the following in the selection of these ethnographic case studies.

  • differing worship expressions of congregational life
  • rural, suburban, and urban contexts
  • congregational size, length of existence, leadership gender and distribution
  • variations in COVID-19 severity, lockdown orders, and mortality rates

We will also purposefully include immigrant and minority-led congregations.