Religion in America
Dr. M. Finch
FIELD EXPERIENCE GUIDELINES
An important way to learn about religion in the United States is to attend religious events (e.g., a Christian
Sunday morning worship service, a Jewish Friday evening Shabbat service, a Hindu temple puja, Islamic Friday
afternoon prayers, a Buddhist meditation meeting) and observe how people engage their religious meanings
through particular activities.
During this assignment, you will be a field researcher, investigating what
Americans do in organized religious settings.
You will also be observing your own experiences of and reactions
to the events and, more importantly, thinking about what the events tell you about these particular organizations
and their members.
attend and observe two different religious events
throughout the semester and write a
2- to 3-page
about each one.
Choosing the religious events to attend
See “Religious Organizations in Springfield and Environs,” attached.
You may attend on your own or with a friend.
One or both of your field experiences may be done outside of Springfield (but within the United States).
The adventurous will visit two religious groups that are completely new to you and represent two completely
different religious traditions (e.g., Jewish and Buddhist).
But you may attend your own place of worship as
one field experience, if you prefer.
The other event should be quite different from your own religious
For example, if you choose to attend your own church and another Christian church, and your home church is
conservative mainline Protestant (let’s say, Southern Baptist), your other field experience should be chosen
from one of the following groups: a liberal mainline Protestant church, a Pentecostal/charismatic church, a
Catholic or Eastern Orthodox church, an African American church, a non-English-speaking church, or an
“alternative” Christian church.
It is highly recommended that at least one of your visits be to a religious event that is less “mainstream” here in
an African American church, an Eastern Orthodox church, a non-English-speaking
church, an “alternative” Christian service, or a non-Christian religious meeting or ceremony.
you to be adventurous,
5 points extra credit
will be awarded for attendance at one of these.
will not receive extra credit for the second field experience if it is at the same kind of religious event as the
first one (e.g., if you attend two different Jewish events or two different African American churches).
You may attend one
campus-affiliated ministry (e.g., Catholic Campus Ministries, Chi Alpha, or the Springfield
The other event should be off-campus.
Before attending the event