United Church of Christ minister the Rev. Kristina Lizardy-Hajbi was nominated and unanimously elected to serve as the first co-chair of the Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership (CCSP), a multi-faith group of religious researchers representing more than two dozen different religious partners.
"I'm proud to accept this leadership role on behalf of the group," said Lizardy-Hajbi, director of the UCC Center for Analytics, Research and Data (CARD). "This is the single most interfaith and ecumenical group that I know of in existence, and it's a historic thing for the UCC to be a part of leading this group into the future as we study congregational life in the U.S."
The primary research project of the Cooperative Congregations Studies Partnership is Faith Communities Today (FACT), a series of national surveys and insights about congregational life in the United States. The research partnership includes members of 25-plus different faith groups, from Muslim to Jewish, Baha'i to Mormon, Southern Baptist to Catholic, and Protestant to Orthodox, working in conjunction with the Institute for Religion Research, part of Hartford Seminary.
With the retirement of FACT founding director David Roozen, the organization is developing a transition plan and new bylaws of the future, which involves more leadership from its partnering faith communities. As recently-added co-chair, Lizardy-Hajbi will serve alongside the standing chair, Scott Thumma, dean of Hartford Seminary.
"The national church survey project of Faith Communities Today and the CCSP team are moving into a new era of research and organization," Thumma said. "Kristina was the perfect person to fill this new co-chair role. She is an excellent researcher and cares deeply about the life of congregations. I look forward to sharing the planning of our massive 2020 survey effort with someone as insightful and energetic as her."
In her new role Lizardy-Hajbi will serve a two-year term, and has previously served on the group's steering committee. Last year, she authored the "Engaging Young Adults" report for FACT, which examined data to gain a better understanding of current trends and characteristics of congregations with flourishing young adult ministries.