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WIU Religious Studies Program Designs Website to Highlight Online Religious Programming

April 21, 2020

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MACOMB, IL – The Western Illinois University Religious Studies program has launched a website to highlight the work religious organizations in west central Illinois are doing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Streaming Religion site is the project of Religious Studies Professor Betsy Perabo and is available at Perabo, who also serves as the coordinator of the Liberal Arts and Sciences department, said it was designed to share information about online worship services and other resources developed by religious institutions.

The project has two main components, said Perabo.

"First, we are gathering information on religious organizations in the region of WIU's Macomb and QC campuses – and extending into the tri-states region overall - that are engaged in online activities," she said.

The site lists about a dozen organizations in Macomb with streaming resources, and the section on the Quad Cities has more than 80 links to organizations, containing information on Jewish, Hindu and Muslim sites, as well as sites from many Christian denominations.

The second component of the project focuses on research projects by students in Perabo's African America religions course (AAS/REL 494).

"African American churches and mosques have responded in a variety of ways to the pandemic, and students in this course - many with minors in African American Studies or Religious Studies - are applying their knowledge of these fields to complicated events that are happening right now," Perabo said.

Also featured on the site will be a study by a graduate student in the Masters of Liberal Arts and Sciences (MLAS) program that discusses the online outreach work of four National Baptist Convention churches.

Contributors to the project also include LAS department work-study students, as well as other students whose regular jobs were not available for them to finish out the semester. One of the students, who has taken Christopher Sutton's GIS class at Western, completed a map of Macomb-area organizations and is now developing one for the Quad Cities.

"I hope that this will be useful both for students and community members seeking connections to religious organizations, and for researchers studying religious responses to the pandemic in the future," said Perabo.

For more information on WIU's Religious Studies program, visit

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