Space sharing by groups and organizations is widespread in the United States, from commercial partnerships, to government and private sector joint use agreements, to the use of public facilities and commons, and more. Drawing upon a variety of historical examples and contemporary cases, The Religious Dimensions of Shared Spaces offers a focused and systematic analysis of space sharing involving religious groups or organizations. All space-sharing arrangements are similar in most respects, so what difference does it make when religious groups or organizations are involved? How do they invest meaning in the spaces they use and share, including “sacred space”? When and why do they enter into space-sharing arrangements with other parties, religious and/or secular? How do religious space sharers structure and maintain their arrangements, including handling tensions that arise? What can secular space sharers learn from their religious counterparts, and vice versa? The book also teases out when religion does not matter in space sharing, even when religious groups or organizations are involved. Case studies include internal congregational groups that negotiate the use of shared facilities, arrangements between congregations and external groups or organizations, multifaith partnerships, and shared spaces in secular venues.
Paul D. Numrich is professor in the Snowden Chair for the Study of Religion and Interreligious Relations, Methodist Theological School in Ohio, professor of World Religions and Interreligious Relations, Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University, and visiting scholar, McNamara Center for the Social Study of Religion, Department of Sociology, Loyola University Chicago.
List of Figures
Introduction: Space Sharing
Part One: The Space-Sharing Phenomenon
Chapter One: Extent and Reasons
Chapter Two: Theoretical Framework and Research Methods
Part Two: Space-Sharing Cases
Chapter Three: Congregational Proprietors
Chapter Four: Other Religious Proprietors
Chapter Five: Secular Proprietors
Part Three: Understanding Space Sharing
Chapter Six: The Religion Factor
Chapter Seven: Space-Sharing Takeaways
About the Author
This is an excellent book that adds to the sociological literature on the space sharing phenomenon, with insightful analyses of varied, rich, and evocative cases in the United States. Valuable and timely given the contemporary landscape.
Paul Numrich tells an important story in this book about how religious groups share space. His examples and case studies are rich and provide important insights into the lived religious experiences of many people and groups across the country. I encourage those interested in the geography and lived experience of religion and spirituality in the United States to read on.