About Me

Find out more about me here.

29 May 2013

Comparative Congregational Research

This is essentially a note to myself about an idea for possible research. I know of two Episcopal congregations in a Southern college town with very different members and atmospheres, one being relatively high-ritual and conservative, the other being relatively experiential and liberal. There doesn't seem to be open hostility between the two congregations, but there certainly is some unacknowledged tension and unspoken animosity. I would love to interview laity and clergy from both congregations to get a sense of how people within a single denomination choose a congregational home.


  1. You mentioned Episcopal congregations, but I would be interested to see a a comparison between Baptist congregations. In my county, which has a population of roughly forty-five thousand, there are at least forty-two separate baptist churches. Each has its own culture and view on theology, church governance, and doctrine. There is also a strong culture of racial division. Unlike your example of of the two Episcopal congregations, there is a pronounced hostility between the different sects of the same denomination (Southern, Independent, Missionary, etc).

    Should you decide to study this, I would be very interested to see the results.

  2. Indeed, that would be interesting. "Baptist," however, is a denominational family, not a single denomination. The two largest Baptist denominations are the Southern Baptist Convention and the American Baptist Churches USA. The differences there alone are quite profound.