Katy Shrout

Katy Shrout was a student at Emory University when she began her research on the religious diversity of Augusta, Georgia. She sought first to map religious diversity in Augusta, providing statistical information, reports of visits, history, and photographic images for some of its world religious centers. Profiled centers  included one SikhSikhs call their tradition the “Sikh Panth,” meaning the “community (panth) of the disciples of the Guru.” The tradition reveres a lineage of ten Gurus, beginning with Guru Nanak in the 16th century and coming to a clos. with the death of Guru Gob... gurudwara, Guru SinghUpon initiation into the Khalsa, Sikh men assume the name Singh, “Lion.” SabhaSabha is a general term for an assembly, a council, or the hall in which such an assembly meets. Augusta; a Thai/Laotian TheravadaTheravada, literally “the way of the elders,” was one of the eighteen earliest sub-schools of Buddhism. Today, the term designates the various traditions of Buddhism most prominent in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. Although these traditions differ in i... Buddhist templeBuddhist temples differ considerably from one another depending upon culture and particular school, but most are associated with the residence of the sangha of monks. Theravada temples focus on one or more images of Sakyamuni Buddha. In Mahayana and Vajra... (WatA wat (Thai) or watt (Cambodian) is a Buddhist temple-monastic complex. Thai and Cambodian temples typically have two sections, one in which both monks and laity worship the Buddha, and the other reserved for the monastic community. The former typically i... Santidham); the Hindu TempleA temple is a house of worship, a sacred space housing the deity or central symbol of the tradition. The Temple in Jerusalem was the holy place of the Jewish people until its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE; now the term “temple” is used by th. Ref... Society of Augusta; the Augusta Islamic Society, the Augusta Baha’i community, and Darkwood of Pangea, a paganThe term “pagan” (from the Latin paganus) originally meant “peasant” or “country dweller.” For many Pagans, the term suggests a life lived close to the land. Today, nature spirituality is an important thread in contemporary Paganism. Some Paga... center. Further information was also be provided about the Jain community and SwaminarayanThe Swaminarayan Hindu movement began in early nineteenth century Gujarat with a religious and social reformer named Sahajanand Swami. It is a devotional bhakti movement, focusing on Vishnu in the form of Krishna and Radha and also on Sahajanand Swami him... Hindu Temple.

Her second goal will be to clarify how the greater Augusta community—including its large and predominantly evangelicalThe Greek word euangelion means “good news” and an evangelist is one who proclaims and shares the good news of Christ. Evangelism is the preaching and witnessing to that good news. Evangelicals are Christians who emphasize the personal experience of G... Christian population—has encountered and interacted with newer religious groups. She identified two important mediators for such interaction: first, the Unitariana belief in one God that rejects the three persons of the Trinity that has much in common with the belief in the early Christian church about the superiority of God over Jesus and the Anti-Trinitarian writing that emerged during the Protestant Reformation... Universalist ChurchThe term church has come to wide use to refer to the organized and gathered religious community. In the Christian tradition, church refers to the organic, interdependent “body” of Christ’s followers, the community of Christians. Secondarily, church ... of Augusta, which has provided a forum for interfaith dialogue (especially after September 11th), and second, the local newspaper, the Augusta Chronicle, which has been a longstanding arena for debate over tolerance and evangelismThe Greek word euangelion means “good news” and an evangelist is one who proclaims and shares the good news of Christ. Evangelism is the preaching and witnessing to that good news. Evangelicals are Christians who emphasize the personal experience of G... towards non-Christian groups. She profiled and interviewed leaders at the Unitarian Universalist Church, as well as completed archival research on religious debate on the editorial pages and coverage in the Religion section of the Augusta Chronicle since September 11, 2001.

At the time of this research, Shrout wrote of Augusta:

Augusta is Georgia’s second city—second in population (to Atlanta) and second in age (to Savannah). Located on the Georgia-South Carolina border, about 150 miles east of Atlanta, its metropolitanA Metropolitan is the title given to a bishop, used especially in the Orthodox family of churches today. area totals about 475,000 persons, according to the 2000 Census. Augusta is the birthplace of the Southern BaptistThe Baptist tradition includes a variety of Christian churches which trace their beginnings to the Anabaptist reform movement that rejected infant baptism insisting on the importance of baptizing only those who are able to profess the faith as believers. denomination, and the location of the first autonomous black Baptist church in the nation. The region’s three largest employers include the Savannah River Site (a Department of Energy nuclear facility), the U.S. Army Signal Center and Fort Gordon, and the Medical College of Georgia. The city’s famous golf course (the Augusta National) attracted national media attention last year for its refusal to allow women membership.

Selected Links and Publications