Regional ethnographic research

We are actively exploring 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 are studying 12 congregations in each region 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 and Research Assistants (see below), these congregational case studies include multiple site visits, interviews, focus groups, key informant surveys, member surveys, and an analysis of the congregation’s response to the pandemic. 

Regional site locales

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Denver, CO
  • Hartford, CT
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Long Beach, CA (suburban Los Angeles)
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Southeast TN
  • Waco, TX
  • Washington, D.C.

Regional site selection

Each regional site is collecting information from a sampling of churches that exemplify a diversity of Christian traditions representative of their communities. In addition, we are considering 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 are also purposefully including immigrant and BIPOC-led congregations. 

Meet Our Regional Teams

Bios for our full team of Regional Advisors may be accessed here.

Atlanta, GA

Regional Advisor: Dr. Nichole R. Phillips

Research Assistants:

  • Eboni Haynes
  • Lessie Johnson
  • Joya Moore
  • Kimberly Stephens
  • Kellen White

Denver, CO

Regional Advisor: Dr. Kristina Lizardy-Hajbi

Research Assistants:

  • Grego Peña-Camprubí
  • Isabela Rosales

Hartford, CT

Regional Research Overseen by Dr. Allison Norton, EPIC Co-Investigator

Research Assistants:

  • Oscar Guana Osorio
  • Laura Montoya Cifuentes
  • Sara Swetzoff

Indianapolis, IN

Regional Advisor: Dr. Art Farnsley

Research Assistants:

  • Tim Orr
  • Maria Reynolds-Weir

Long Beach, CA

Regional Advisor: Dr. Richard Flory

Research Assistants:

  • Hebah Farrag
  • Nalika Gajaweera
  • Tarra McNally
  • Najuma Smith-Pollard

Minneapolis, MN

Regional Advisor: Dr. Penny Edgell

Research Assistants:

  • Daniel Cueto-Villalobos
  • Laura Gilbertson

Southeast Tennessee

Regional Advisors: Dr. Arlie Tagayuna and Dr. Ruth Wienk

Research Assistants:

  • Matthew Glidden
  • Alana Ivarson
  • Lillie Knight
  • Anna Rutherford
  • Matt Ryan
  • Nichole Sandell
  • Luke Sizemore
  • Alyssa St. John
  • Ghislyn Tucker

Waco, TX

Regional Advisor: Dr. Todd Ferguson

Research Assistants:

  • LaDarius Beck
  • Brandon Brown
  • Andrew Gardner
  • Melanie Pacheco
  • Heewon Yang

Washington, DC

Regional Advisor: Dr. Brandon Vaidyanathan

Research Assistants:

  • Mackenzie Cox
  • Alex Robert Maccarelli
  • Kathryn Middleton
  • Taylor Nelson
  • Kayla Tingley-Renaudin

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