Center for Social Research

Calvin faculty study local congregational worship

The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW) has received a grant from the Lilly Endowment to better understand the transformative nature of worship. A team of nine Calvin College faculty and Center for Social Research (CSR) staff are working with John Witvliet and the Worship Institute staff to study issues of “Worship, Worldview and Way of Life.”

Five of these faculty members are working together and partnering with ten local congregations in Grand Rapids to do a series of studies. The ten churches represent both urban and suburban locations as well as a variety of denominations. These studies cover worship’s relationship to everything from conceptions of community to issues of race. In keeping with the Worship Institute’s practical goals, the aim is to help congregations become more reflective about how worship can empower congregants to be transformative agents in society. CSR staff and student research assistants are providing research support, especially Gwen Einfeld, who is organizing tracking of recordings and transcripts. Read on for details of these studies and biographical sketches of the faculty conducting them.


Posted by Neil Carlson on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 at 09:07 AM
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CSR Project Fellows Mulder and Smith gearing up

Jamie Smith (Philosophy) and Mark Mulder (Sociology) are the CSR Project Fellows for the 2006-2008 academic years. They’re planning a pilot study of evangelical Christians’ attitudes and beliefs about cities and residential patterns. Read on for excerpts from their proposal…


Posted by Neil Carlson on Friday, September 01, 2006 at 03:31 PM
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Volunteer now: See colors and spot churches

Volunteers are needed to visit rural areas this fall to help finish a congregational census of Kent County.

Sign up for training, then cover a part of the county in late September and early October. About ten pairs of volunteers can finish the job in under a week.

Training:  Saturday, September 23, 9am - 12pm at Grand Valley State University’s downtown campus. Read more below to RSVP.

Photo of covered bridge at Fallasburg Park in fall

Drive all over a part of rural Kent County and document the churches you find.

Approaching the covered bridge at Fallasburg Park in northeast Kent County, October 2005.


Posted by Neil Carlson on Thursday, August 31, 2006 at 10:54 PM
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A new paradigm for a new year

Greetings, colleagues! For 2006-2007, the Center for Social Research is moving to a new project management footing, of which this brand new weblog is a part. We are working to place new emphasis on our primary mission:  helping Calvin faculty improve our academic research in the social sciences. CSR’s support for community service organizations, the Christian Reformed Church, and Calvin administrative departments will not end, but we are working hard to emphasize faculty research as the organizing principle for these other CSR functions, which are after all part of our entire institution’s mission, not CSR’s alone. This note is primarily about the ongoing expansion of our high-tech research-support infrastructure. Read on to see a few of the steps we are taking…


Posted by Neil Carlson on Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 11:09 AM
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Cherry Street: Tracking Low-Cost Medicines for Low-Income Citizens

In January 2006, Calvin computer science major Mark Van Holstyn, then a junior, along with CSR Assistant Director Neil Carlson, completed the initial stage of design and deployment of a new web-based database application and research tool for Cherry Street Health Services, a non-profit health system with nine clinics serving low-income children and families in the Grand Rapids area. The web application streamlines Cherry Street’s service to help patients apply for low-cost or free medications from pharmaceutical companies. The program has been running well for over eight months now, with minimal need for training or support. CSR’s work greatly improved accessibility from remote sites, reliability and data quality, including a centrally managed drug formulary, list of physicians and strong user security. The new system also tracks health outcomes so as to facilitate research and program evaluation in the future. CSR was connected to this project through Dr. Fred DeJong, who is completing a contract for evaluation of Cherry Street’s role as lead agency in a major federal grant for Grand Rapids area health care.

Posted by Neil Carlson on Monday, August 14, 2006 at 10:10 PM
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