Varieties of Religious Presence: Mission in Public Life

Roozen, David A.; William McKinney; and Jackson W. Carroll. Varieties of Religious Presence: Mission in Public Life. New York: The Pilgrim Press, 1984.

The question of how religion is present in society and American communities sparked the intellectual curiosity of Roozen, McKinney, and Carroll. They investigated ten congregations in the Hartford, Conn. region, comparing and analyzing the congregations’ interrelationships and connections with the community at large. Five criteria governed the probe: the history of the congregation and its current condition; membership in terms of social identity; theological self-understanding of the congregation; internal structure and organization; and finally, its public presence. They studied congregations from the perspectives of civil participation, activist presence, the retreat of sanctuary, and evangelical outreach, and each viewing featured congregations from the ten. The authors employed surveys, questionnaires and interviews to gather data, and concluded the work with reflections on how each congregation impacted society and interrelated with other congregations, and suggestions for future successful social leavening.(MG)