The first portion of this appendix discusses the social context within which the congregations featured in this study are situated. The second portion outlines the research methodology used to conduct our study and provides the questionnaire used to conduct in–depth interviews with local religious leaders.
The Golden Triangle Region (GTR) connects three Mississippi counties (Oktibbeha, Lowndes, and Clay), and their respective county seats (Starkville, Columbus, and West Point) in east central Mississippi. Columbus is the largest of these communities, with a population of approximately twenty–four thousand residents. Starkville has about eighteen thousand residents, while West Point has a population of just over ten thousand (Mississippi Population Data Sheet 1993). Mississippi is overwhelmingly populated by whites (63 percent) and blacks (36 percent), complemented by very small Asian and Hispanic populations (1 percent nonwhite/nonblack) (Mississippi Population Data Sheet 1993).
Within the Golden Triangle Region, Clay County is the most rural area and has the highest percentage of blacks when compared with its two GTR counterparts. Clay County is 53.3 percent black, whereas Lowndes (37.2 percent black) and Oktibbeha (34.3 percent black) conform more closely to the ethnic composition in the state. As the most rural of the three counties, Clay County is 48 percent farmland. In Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties, 39 percent and 28 percent of their geography is composed of farmland. By way of state–level comparisons, 34 percent of land in Mississippi is used for farming; 53 percent of Mississippians live in rural areas. Oktibbeha County is the site of a