Key and recent publications:


Books on faith-based community organizing:

  • A Shared Future: Faith-Based Organizing for Racial Equity & Ethical Democracy by Richard L. Wood and Brad R. Fulton (University of Chicago Press 2015) analyzed the tension between universalist and multiculturalist democratic practices, and how this played out in the transformation of a large national community organizing network.
  • Faith in Action: Religion, race, and democratic organizing in America (University of Chicago Press 2002) analyzed the role of social capital and cultural dynamics in enabling and constraining the success of grassroots democratic organizing, via a comparative case analysis of faith-based and racial identity-based community organizing. The book won the 2003 outstanding book award from the Sociology of Religion section of the American Sociological Association.

Most recent articles:

  • "Representative Group Styles: How Ally Immigrant Rights Organizations Promote Immigrant Involvement" by Grace Yukich, Brad R Fulton and Richard L Wood. Social Problems (2019):1-19. doi: 10.1093/socpro/spz025.
  • “Racial Equity Work in Predominantly White Civic Organizations” by Brad Fulton, Michelle Oyakawa, and Richard L. Wood. Accepted for publication in Non-Profit Management and Leadership (accepted August 2019).
  • “Passion and Virtue in Public Life: Focal Practices and the Political Holiness the World Needs” by Richard L. Wood (2019) in Political Power and Social Theory, edited by Ruth Braunstein in a special volume titled Religion and Political Polarization: A Force for Humility or Arrogance? Brief version published on The Immanent Frame online scholarly forum.
  • "Civil Society Organizations and the Enduring Role of Religion in Promoting Democratic Engagement" by Brad R. Fulton and Richard L. Wood. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations (2018:5):1068-1080. doi: 10.1007/s11266-018-9965-2.
  • “The Catholic Bishops in the U.S. Public Arena: Changing Prospects under Pope Francis” by Richard L. Wood (2016). Religions 7(14): 1-32.
  • "In Defense of Dualism: Competing and complementary frameworks in religious studies and the sociology of religion" by Richard L. Wood in Critical Research on Religion 4:3, 292-298 DOI: 10.1177/2050303216676530 (November 2015). 

On “bridging cultural practices” in social movements:

Overview of the field of congregation-based community organizing:

National profile of the field of faith-based community organizing:

  • “Building Bridges, Building Power,” full national data on the national social movement sector of faith-based organizing, co-authored with Brad R. Fulton and Kathryn Partridge (Interfaith Funders, 2012).
  • “Interfaith Organizing: Emerging Theological and Organizational Challenges” in the International Journal of Public Theology 6: 1-23 (Brad R. Fulton and Richard L. Wood).

On strategic capacity of social movements:

On political culture and democratic reform:

In the United States:

In Central America:

In the Middle East:


Popularly accessible writing: 

Interfaith Funders--working with Rich Wood, Brad Fulton, and other scholars and organizers--sponsored a variety of projects that document and analyze the state of the field of faith-based community organizing, its strengths and limitations, and its contributions to American democracy. That collaboration produced a range of writings, some written accessibly for a broad audience of readers: professional organizers, religious clergy, foundation program officers, political leaders, and scholars seeking a broad view of the field:

 “Building Bridges, Building Power” (Interfaith Funders, 2012; co-authored by Richard L. Wood, Brad Fulton, and Kathryn Partridge)  – public launch at New York University in September 2012, with 60 scholars, foundation program officers, and professional organizers in attendance). Public briefings in 2012-2013 attended by funders, political organizers, social movement scholars, and religious leaders in Chicago, San Francisco, and Berkeley, and a national webinar sponsored by Mott Foundation.

How Community Organizations Can Build National Networks,” 2012 policy brief published by the Scholars Strategy Network; Theda Skocpol, National Director.

Wood, Richard L. 2009. “Raising the Bar: Organizing Capacity in 2009 and Beyond,” research report written for the Neighborhood Funders Group; available at

Wood, Richard L. 2007 and 2006. “A Deeper Self: Community-Based Learning and the Lifelong Vocation to Solidarity” and “Challenging the University,” on-line essays for the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education, Santa Clara University. 

Flaherty, Mary Ann and Richard L. Wood. 2004. Faith and Public Life: Faith-Based Community Organizing and the Development of Congregations. New York: Interfaith Funders. Available at [Note: several thousand of these printed by Ford Foundation, distributed by Interfaith Funders upon request of foundation staff, community and political organizers, and religious clergy. 

On the impact of public engagement on religious congregations:

  • Renewing Congregations
: Short, accessible writing from a national study of civic engagement in 44 congregations in thirteen cities in the United States, including liberal Protestant, Roman Catholic, historical African American Protestant, Latino and Black Pentecostal, Jewish, Unitarian, and Unity congregations.

  • Faith and Public Life 
  • Wood, Richard L. 2003. “Up from the Parishes: Reclaiming the Public Voice of Catholicism,” in American Catholic Studies, published by University of Notre Dame’s Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism (December 2003; pp. 1, 7-10).