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Civic and Community Engagement | Leadership Studies | Religion | Social Psychology and Interaction | Sociology | Sociology of Religion


Sheila Nelson, Sociology


This thesis presents the results of an exploratory study examining reasons why religious leaders participate in interfaith collaboration. I conducted in-depth interviews with religious congregational leaders in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, in an attempt to identify their professional and personal motivations, and the organizational pressures influencing participation. Interfaith collaboration consists of intentional constructive cooperation and positive interactions among individuals or institutions of different religious traditions. Interfaith initiatives occur throughout the world at the local, national, and international level. Despite the growing increase in faith-based collaborations, there has been little research examining why religious leaders and congregations choose to participate in interfaith collaboration. This research attempts to address this question. Ten religious leaders representing eight different religious traditions participated in this study.