Parish Transitions Archive

Parish Transitions Archive: Recording the Stories

mccorklePrincipal Investigator:

Brian McCorkle, PhD,

Research Assistant Professor, School of Theology

Director, Center for the Study of Religion and Psychology, Danielsen Institute Academic Faculty


Nancy Ammerman, Professor of Sociology of Religion

Shelly Rambo, Assistant Professor of Theology

This project developed an archive of the lived experience of people of faith during one historical moment of major, if not cataclysmic, congregational change.  The perspectives of the people affected by the closing of Roman Catholic parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston were recorded while it was actually happening and immediately afterwards.  This process affected many aspects of life for people of faith: their relationship with God, church hierarchy, and pastors; their personal theologies; their personal faith and spiritual journeys; and perhaps even their emotional well-being.  Field research staff conducted open-ended qualitative interviews with individuals and focus groups.  These interviews were audiotaped with participants’ knowledge and transcribed for later analysis.  This data repository can be returned to for further analysis for years to come by students of congregational development, the sociology of religion, and the psychology of religion.