UCC’s director of CARDD receives national award for research

The United Church of Christ’s Erica Dollhopf, director of The Center for Analytics, Research & Development, and Data (CARDD), has been selected as the winner of the Outstanding Applied Research Award for 2024 from the Religious Research Association.

The award is based on research Dollhopf conducted from the results of the Faith Communities Today survey in 2020, which enabled the CARDD team to extensively look at UCC congregations. The article she wrote was entitled, “Overall Congregational Vitality in the United Church of Christ: Predictors and Implications,” and was published in Theology Today.

Concrete ways to look at vitality

Dollhopf said of the award, “I am so grateful to the CARDD team for their work on this survey and for all the work they do every day to provide timely, relevant research for our congregations and clergy.”

The work examined the predictors of overall congregational vitality. Dollhopf believes that the research gives congregations even outside of the UCC concrete ways to look at their vitality. “One of the biggest predictors is fit between the congregation and their pastor. It underscores the importance of good search and call work when churches are looking to bring in a new leader.”

Dollhopf was also recently quoted in an article for the Washington Post entitled “The most religious, and religiously diverse, places in America.” She commented on general trends in church-going. “Religious adherence, based largely on membership records, remains steady in America, with 49 percent of households declaring allegiance to one religion or another,” she said.

The mission of CARDD is to gather and provide data and research for ministry transformation. Dollhopf has been with the UCC since 2018. She has a Ph.D. in sociology from Penn State, and is currently the president of the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies.

An awards ceremony will be held in October at the Religious Research Association’s annual meeting where Dollhopf will be honored for her work.

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Categories: United Church of Christ News

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