American Congregations is an outgrowth of the University of Chicago Divinity School’s congregational history project. The project’s intent was “to focus fresh scholarly attention on American congregations.” The stimulating case studies and essays published here present good reason to suppose that this goal will be achieved.
The work is edited by James P. Wind (director in the Religion Division of the Lilly Endowment) and James W. Lewis (director of the Louisville Institute for the Study of Protestantism and American Culture), who together served as codirectors of the project. They have brought together articles written by qualified scholars from such diverse fields as theology, history; ethics, sociology; policy planning, Africana studies, and philosophy. One of the work’s refreshing achievements is that despite the authors’ obvious academic credentials they do not become pedantic or overly technical. Anyone interested in the practical dynamics of American religious life and congregational development will find these two volumes enjoyable and highly informative.