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Vol. VI, No. 2


What are the influences that contribute to a person’s spirituality?  How do these influences interact with other people and mutually impact spiritual beliefs and behavior? 

A new study by Adair Lummis of the Hartford Institute looks at Hartford Seminary’s own Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI) to answer these questions.  She explores the intentional efforts of 145 women to develop spiritually through a pluralistic study of other faith stances in relation to one’s own in seeking to construct their spiritual identities as they practice their faith in different situations and explain their experiences to themselves and to others.

The research is rich in illuminating quotes from the women, which adds a depth and fascinating glimpse into the spiritual lives of WLI participants.  Lummis concludes that there is an intertwining of these women’s experiences in groups and while alone in the development and expression of spirituality in their lives.  Through this encounter with others, they come to develop a view of God that is more inclusive, broader and less constrained by tradition. 

These women affirmed their right to seek their own spiritual truths while listening and trying to understand others’ views.  In so doing, they expanded their spiritual conceptions through interaction with other women exploring spiritual feminism. Through the interaction with others in the Women’s Leadership Institute, they gained varying degrees of bonding and bridging trust, which carried over into their secular daily lives. In this process, they have learned self-trust in seeking to interpret spirituality as involving their entire existence.  They used this understanding to better comprehend religious tenets and practices of others whose spiritual worldviews differed from theirs, and to appreciate where their faiths intersect.

[excerpted and summarized from Adair Lummis’ report – Read the full report at http://hirr.hartsem.edu/bookshelf/lummis_article3.htm]

What's New:

  • Faith and Family in America Survey
    This nationwide survey on religion and the family was conducted for Religion & Ethics Newsweekly by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research Inc. and is the basis of a four-part Religion & Ethics Newsweekly series called "Faith and Family in America." View our other "Religion and the Family" links.
  • Do you pay your pastor enough?  Read the October quick question to find out
  • The Duncan Black Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, a department of Hartford Seminary, has launched a new web site with resources to great Islamic sites, online papers, and frequently asked questions about Islam. Visit their new site at http://macdonald.hartsem.edu/.
  • Christian Smith has released a new book titled "Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of in American Teenagers"
  • Tell us what you think! We've received a grant to redesign the Hartford Institute web site and would like your input. Send an email with your thoughts and ideas to sthumma@hartsem.edu.

Coming Soon!

  • The 2005 Faith Communities Today national survey is near completion and the results will be available within the next two months. For more information, read the project description on the FACT website.
  • Also near completion, the much anticipated Megachurch study. Results are expected within the next two months and newsletter subscribers will be notified when the summaries are available. Stay tuned!




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