Hartford Institute for Religion Research

Bridging scholarship and the practice of faith

The Hartford Institute for Religion Research (HIRR) studies and communicates what is happening in religious life today. From groundbreaking studies on the movement of women into the role of clergy to the timely assessment of trends in church membership – the Hartford Institute explores how people of different faiths are forming and reforming their institutions.

HIRR projects and findings have appeared in books and news outlets like the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the ABC television network. Our work includes pioneering methods for the study of congregations through a national multi-faith survey that is gathering unprecedented, comprehensive data on the nation's congregations.

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Featured Projects

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Faith Communities Today

The series of ongoing research surveys and practical reports about congregational life is conducted and published by the Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnerships, a multi-faith group of religious researchers and faith groups, in a research partnership with Hartford International and members representing 25+ different faith groups.

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Pastoral Innovation Network of New England

The initiative supports New England clergy and denominations in engaging the most pressing challenges they face today. As a cross-denominational innovation hub, early-career clergy will meet with experienced coaches and mentors to highlight effective approaches to pastoral challenges and ministry revitalization in the New England context.

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Pastoral Innovation Network of New England

Meet Our Leaders

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Dr. Scott Thumma
Dr. Scott Thumma
Professor of Sociology of Religion

Scott is the director of the Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry program, the distance education program  and Hartford Institute’s church survey service.  He co-directs the Insights into Religion Portal (www.religioninsights.org) for the Lilly Endowment, and consults with churches and religious organizations on congregational revitalization, planning and new technologies.  He is responsible for many religion research websites including the Hartford Institute site, Robert Bellah’s website, as well as the Faith Communities Today and the Religious Research Association sites. Much of his work can be found at the Hartford Institute website www.hartfordinstitute.org. Scott and his family live in Connecticut.

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Dr. Allison Norton
Dr. Allison Norton
Faculty Associate in Migration Studies and Congregational Life

Allison Norton is the Faculty Associate in Migration Studies and Congregational Life. She holds a Ph.D from Fuller Theological Seminary, with her thesis “Passing on the Faith: A Mixed Methods Study of Intergenerational Religious Transmission in Transnational African Immigrant Congregations in the United States.” Her research and publications explore the transnational dimension of African Pentecostalism and the changing American religious landscape, the role of migration on the worldwide expansion of the Christian faith, and the religious identities of the “new” second generation. Allison’s experience with Africans in Ghana and the US included serving as registrar and certificate course educator at the Pan African University College in Winneba, Ghana and her current role as an ordained deaconess of the Church of Pentecost.

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