Dr. David Bromley founded the World Religions in Richmond project in 2005. The project began with summer research internships for students at Virginia Commonwealth University and, in 2006, became a course during the academic year. Recently, World Religions in Richmond has become part of a larger umbrella research effort called the World Religions and Spirituality Project. Dr. Bromley teaches in the departments of sociology and religious studies at Virginia Commonwealth University and is the series editor of Religion and Social Order, a series sponsored by the Association for the Sociology of Religion.
From World Religions in Richmond website:
America is the most religiously diverse nation in the world. There are well over two thousand distinct religious groups in the United States, and the number continues to grow. Richmond, Virginia has played a key role in the emergence of this contemporary religious diversity. It was Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, drafted in 1779 and enacted in 1786, that became part of Virginia’s constitution and the basis for the religious freedom clauses in the U.S. Constitution.
The World Religions in Richmond Project has as its objective chronicling the religious diversity that exists in the Richmond community. There are currently well over eight hundred religious congregational units in the Richmond metropolitan area representing many of the world’s major religious traditions. This website provides a listing of each of these religious congregations by faith tradition. This listing incorporates an overview of the distinctive history and doctrines of each tradition, information on the development of each tradition in Virginia and in Richmond, and profiles of selected religious congregations. In addition, the project documents how religious congregations representing many faith traditions individually and collectively impact the Richmond community. There are schools and colleges, hospitals and retirement communities, charitable foundations, camps and retreats, bookstores and businesses, aid and relief organizations, interfaith groups, foreign and domestic missions, radio and television programs, musical groups, and public festivals connected in some way to religious traditions located in Richmond. The activities of these various groups are a vital part of the Richmond community.