Center for Social Research

Kent County Congregation Study—Part de deux!

Monday we sent our first official team of Research Assistants out into the world to canvas Kent County for old, new, and re-located congregations! Our student researchers are busily scouring the county as part of an extension of the Kent County Congregational Study. The Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation is sponsoring a continuation of the study to advance the understanding of religious congregations' role in the provision of social services, especially for youth and children. Researchers will be looking to confirm the presence of 720 congregations found in Kent County as of 2007. Data gathered from this census will allow us to monitor trends in the population of congregations and ensure that surveys and other studies are representative of the Kent county. Keep your eye out for our student researchers in your neighborhood!

Click "read more..." to read from the perspective of a canvasser...

We spent the last few days in the Wyoming area. Driving down every street in the area, we explored neighborhoods, commercial areas, parks, and some huge industrial buildings. Equipped with cameras, maps and water bottles, our team visited lots of new places that we had never been before. We spent hours in a small area of town scouring the streets for congregations. Along the way, we made countless u-turns, traveled down narrow one way streets, hit a few curbs, and even drove down dirt roads in search of congregational buildings. We drove to congregational buildings in busy commercial areas, bustling with people and businesses, and located a few congregations some amidst residential areas, near large parks filled with flowers and greenery. It was neat to see some of the architectural differences between congregational buildings.

We were able to talk to several pastors or church leaders at a variety of congregations. Congregants gladly welcomed us into their air conditioning and were always willing to sit and talk. People seemed excited about the KCCS project and were eager to share about the programs they offer in the community. We found evidence of growth, especially in Hispanic congregations. We even found a new congregation! It was a Spanish-speaking congregation formed under a larger church only a month ago. Many congregations are offering new programs to reach out to the diverse community living in the Wyoming area.

Posted by Christina Marie Vanden Bosch der Nederlanden on Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 05:09 PM
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