Program of Research and Consultation on Mainstream Protestantism

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Mon, 08/01/1988
End Date: 
Wed, 07/31/1991

Chicago Theological Seminary’s “Program of Research and Consultation on Mainstream Protestantism,” directed by Dorothy Bass, coordinated efforts of conversation and mutual assistance among the Lilly Endowment-sponsored grantees conducting research on mainstream Protestantism, and supported Bass’ investigation of the ways liberal Protestants in the 20th century have faced ecclesiastical and educational challenges linking the Christian tradition and modernity. For several years, the Lilly Endowment sponsored a number of scholars investigating the “shifting vitalities of mainstream Protestantism” as this related to worship and music, gender and family issues, congregational studies, and other areas. This project enabled these researchers to consult one another and to draw on outside resources to advance their work. It also allowed Bass to study the “inner resources”—that is, the theology, ethos and spirit—of mainstream Protestantism which link tradition with modernity, and to look at the dynamics of liberal Protestants’ weak religious educational efforts in the early to middle years of the century. <p> Consultations taking place through this project brought grantees together with: (1) the Congregational Studies Project Team; (2) Linda Clark’s study of music in the churches; (3) those interested in studying women in mainstream Protestantism; (4) Wade Clark Roof’s research into baby boomers; (5) Chicago Theological Seminary’s leadership consultation among United Church of Christ ministers; and others. Among the researchers involved in consultations were James Ault, Robert Wuthnow, Charles Allen, Linda Clark, Joanna Gillespie, Mary Johnson, Louis Weeks, Barbara Brown Zikmund, Eldon Ernst, William McKinney, Jackson Carroll, Wade Clark Roof, and Dorothy Bass.