The Manor House of the Craigville Conference Center in Cape Cod, MA, offered a pristine backdrop for conversations I had the privilege of participating in this week as an “Engaged Scholar Studying Congregations.” This annual gathering brings together a small handful of top scholars interested in the systematic and relevant study of religious congregations, broadly defined. As one of three fellows for 2010-2011 (along with Orit Avishai of Fordham U. and Lynne Gerber of UC Berkeley), this was my second opportunity to partake in conversations on the Cape, generously informing my current research on “personal parishes” in the Catholic Church.
In addition to discussing fellows’ research projects, the meaning of engaged scholarship on congregations, and Robert Putnam and David Campbell’s new book American Grace, we visited the largest Brazilian Assembly of God congregation on Cape Cod. Pictured below are Gerardo Marti, Orit Avishai, Jim Nieman, Lynne Gerber, Larry Mamiya, the congregation’s Pastor Da Silva, Steve Warner, Nancy Ammerman, John Bartkowski, myself, and Bill McKinney. I am grateful for the inspired mentorship and friendship this group has provided.