We seek to understand the ways in which religion and community have shaped each other in greater Indianapolis. Using community-academic collaborations, our studies took place between 1996 – 2002 (RUC1) and 2020 – 2022 (RUC2.0). In so doing, we have compiled the largest collection of meaningful religious data ever gathered on one American city.
Working through community-based partnerships, we cultivated public inquiry and civic conversation about the role of religion in this exemplar metropolitan community. The six-year study of religion and community in Indianapolis for RUC1, funded by grants from Lilly Endowment, Inc., resulted in a vast amount of information made available to the community in many formats, including newsletters, a scholarly book series, two internationally distributed video series, and more.
The RUC1 Religion Group encompassed researchers, sociologists, social workers, anthropologists, religious and cultural historians, policy analysts, and data specialists. Religion staff collect data on Indianapolis congregations, faith-based organizations, and community groups. They wrote about the role of religion in relation to urban communities. In conjunction with the Community Analysis Group, they evaluated programs from government, community, and nonprofit agencies. RUC1 staff included: Kevin R. Armstrong, Senior Public Teacher; David J. Bodenhamer, Director; Anne Laker, Coordinator, Spirit and Place Festival; Jan Shipps, professor emeritus of history and religious studies at IUPUI; and
Elfriede Wedam, Senior Research Associate.