Call for Seminar Participants:

Learning How to Best Leverage Religion and Community Data

How can good data lead to better planning? When it comes to trends in religion, how can we know our contexts better in order to better serve in them? In an age of data glut, how do I know what numbers to trust?

These are questions that we think Indiana's leaders are asking.

The Association of Religion Data Archives ( is hosting three separate seminars meant to enhance the value of religion data and community data for leaders in Indiana. Each seminar will meet four times over the course of two years. The meetings will be held in Indianapolis and will last 4 hours each with lunch provided. Seminar participants will be paid $500 per meeting, or $2000 total for their time and to offset any travel expenses.

We will create three seminar cohorts of up to 10 participants each:

  • Leaders of faith-based service groups (October of 2021-April of 2023)
  • Pastors (April of 2022-October of 2023)
  • Civic leaders, both elected and appointed (October of 2022-April of 2024). is the most comprehensive collection of religion data in the U.S. While it is a repository of survey data useful to researchers, it also has tools for pastors and other civic leaders as well as tools for journalists, college professors, and secondary-school teachers. We want to learn how these leaders use these tools and, where necessary help them learn to use them more effectively.

Participants in the seminars will experiment with the various resources available at During the seminars, we will discuss ways to read and understand data, as well as ways to use the website.

We are especially interested in providing resources to underserved communities.

  • Seminars are for Indiana residents who serve in organizations working in Indiana.
  • Seminars will meet four times in the ARDA office at IUPUI in Indianapolis.
  • These meetings will be held in April and October over the course of two years.
  • The meetings will run from 10 am until 2 pm with lunch provided. Most Indiana residents will not require a hotel stay.
  • Participants receive a $500 stipend per meeting, $2000 total for their time and to offset any travel expenses.
  • Participants will be asked to complete small pre-assignments designed to make the seminars more effective.
  • Preference will be given to those serving traditionally "underserved" communities.

If you are interested, please send a half-page letter of interest to Dr. Arthur Farnsley at Please provide your name and the name of your organization. Then say a little about the community you serve and why you would benefit from learning to use religion data and other community data more effectively.

We are now seeking our first cohort: Leaders of faith-based service groups. For full consideration, please send your half-page letter of interest by May 31, 2021. Their first seminar will occur in the fall of 2021. We will solicit our cohort of pastors in fall of 2021 with the goal of starting their seminar in April of 2022.

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