The Religion, Culture, and Family Project
The Religion, Culture, and Family Project was funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc. in a series of three generous grants over the past ten years. The first grant was awarded in 1991 and provided funding for the production of a series of twelve [update: twenty] books, published by Westminster John Knox and Cambridge University presses. To foster interaction between the various book projects, major Project authors and editors met annually from 1991 to 1995 to present and mutually critique their ongoing work. A Project office was established under the direction of a Project Director and Project Coordinator at The University of Chicago Divinity School.
In 1995, the Project initiated a series of conferences designed to disseminate its research findings to religious and secular leaders concerned about family issues. That year it invited several prominent religious news writers to a consultation by project authors on "what the public needs to know" about their Project research. In September 1996 it sponsored a major national conference titled "Religion and the American Family Debate: Deeper Understandings, New Directions," in which Project authors discussed their work with over 200 pastors, scholars, and leaders of family institutes. Project authors have since presented their work in a variety of academic and pastoral contexts, and met with several smaller groups to discuss their work and its possible future shape.
In 1997 the Project was awarded a second grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. to explore the possibility of a further series of Project books, some already published and others forthcoming, from William B. Eerdmans Press, along with other conferences, lectures and further dissemination initiatives. These new books examine the relation between religion, American family culture, American public life and various professions such as law, therapy, medicine, ministry.
In 1999, the Project was awarded its third grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. for the purpose of bringing the research findings of the Project to a wider audience. Three central dissemination initiatives are currently underway. First, the Project sponsored the production of a PBS video documentary and accompanying book, "Marriage: Just a Piece of Paper?", which initially aired nationally on February 14, 2002. Second, the Project is sponsoring an adaptation of a highly successful curriculum for high school students by Kamper Curricula. Third, the Project is currently sponsoring presentations of the innovative Great Start marriage preparation program, adapted for the Project by Dr. Robert Cueni of Kansas City, MO.
Update: The RCF Project officially closed
December 31, 2003.
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