Michael Byrd completed the Ph.D. in the Religion, Ethics, and Society program at Vanderbilt University in December 1997. His area of specialization was political organizing by religious associations in Metropolitan Nashville. His graduate studies included eight years of participant-observation of a local IAF-affiliated organization. The title of his dissertation is "The Discourse Ethics of Religious-Based Organizing: A Critical Analysis of the Industrial Areas Foundation's Recent Efforts in Metropolitan Nashville." Publications in this area include a previous working paper for the comm-org discussion group. His primary research areas are critical social theory, religious studies, North American and continental moral theory, political philosophy, and cultural criticism. Byrd is a member of the Administrative Staff of the Learning Technology Center at Peabody College (Vanderbilt).

Katie Day is Associate Professor of Church and Society at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where she has been on the faculty since 1985. She has degrees in theology and social ethics, and her PhD is in urban sociology from Temple University. She continues to research the intersection of faith communities with their communities, particularly focusing on the dynamics of race. Day is ordained as a Presbyterian minister and lives in Philadelphia with her spouse and their two children (5 & 7).

Omar McRoberts was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. He earned his BA in pubic policy studies from the University of Chicago in 1994, and is currently a doctoral candidate in sociology at Harvard. His dissertation is on congregation-based community revitalization in a poor, black neighborhood in Boston.

Mark R. Warren is an assistant professor of sociology at Fordham University in the Bronx. He received his Ph.D. in urban and political sociology from Harvard University in 1995. Warren is studying efforts at community development and political empowerment, seeking to evaluate strategies that can revitalize democratic participation and rebuild inner city communities. He is currently completing a book on the Industrial Areas Foundation, the nationís largest faith-based community organizing network.

Richard Wood is a faculty member in the Department of Sociology at the University of New Mexico. His doctoral dissertation (Berkeley 1995) and forthcoming book "Faith in Action: Religion, Race, and the Future of Democracy" examine how organizations of multiracial, low-income urban residents in the U.S. construct political cultures to sustain democratic engagement. Trained also in theology (MA, Graduate Theological Union 1989), Wood continues to study the role of faith traditions in politics and the public realm. His current research looks at police-community relations under various models of policing.