Department of Religion

Samford University

800 Lakeshore Drive

Birmingham, AL 35229-2251

(205) 726-2879, fax (205) 726-2535

email: drbains@samford.edu



Associate Professor of Religion, Howard College of Arts and Sciences, Samford University.


Harvard University, Ph.D., Study of Religion, 1999.
Dissertation:  "The Liturgical Impulse in Mid-Twentieth-Century Mainline American Protestantism," advisers: David D. Hall and William R. Hutchison
Fields:  Comparative Religion; History of Christianity; American Religious History; Christian Worship in North America

Harvard University, A.M., Study of Religion, 1995.

University of Virginia, B.A. with High Distinction, 1993.
Majors: Religious Studies and Physics


"Contemporary Worship: Trends and Patterns in Christian America." In Faith in America: Changes, Challenges, New Perspectives, Vol. 3, Personal Spirituality Today, edited by Charles H. Lippy, 1-23. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2006.

"Sacred Space: Shaping Samford's Campus."  Seasons 22 (Winter 2005): 22-25.

"Conduits of Faith: Reinhold Niebuhr's Liturgical Thought."  Church History 73 (March 2004): 168-194.

"History of the Sanctuary Building:  Trinity United Methodist Church, Newport News, Virginia."  Newport News, Va.: Trinity United Methodist Church, 2001.

"James G. Keller," "George Alexander McGuire," and "Charles Taze Russell."  In American National Biography.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

"Liturgical Revival in Methodism: The Order of St. Luke in the 1950s."  The New Mercersburg Review 23 (spring 1998): 62-72.

"Liturgical Change in a Presbyterian Cathedral: East Liberty Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania."  Anglican and Episcopal History 61 (December 1992): 514-520.


The Liturgical Impulse in Twentieth-Century American Protestantism.

Historical examination of Protestant interest in and understanding of liturgical and sacramental worship.  Traces movements to reform worship from the 1910s to the 1990s.  Expansion of dissertation.

Religious Capital: The "National" Churches of Washington, D.C., in a Denominational Society

Examines the creation, symbolism and ministries of churches and offices created by religious bodies to represent them in the symbolic landscape, political processes, and daily life of the nation's capital.  Sabbatical Project for spring 2007.


"A National Cathedral? Protestants' Reception of Washington Cathedral."  To be presented at Legacies and Promise: 400 Years of History of Episcopal History conference sponsored by the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church, National Episcopal Historians and Archivists, and the Episcopal Women's History Project.  Williamsburg, Va., June 2007.

"A Presbyterian 'Cathedral'? Congregational Space and Civic Space in the History of the National Presbyterian Church."  To be presented at Building Spiritual Washington: Seventh Biennial Symposium on the Historic Development of Metropolitan Washington, DC.  The Latrobe Chapter, Society of Architectural Historians, Washington, D.C., March 17-18, 2007.

"A Capital Presence: The Presbyterian Quest for a "National Church" in Washington, D.C." To be presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Washington, D.C., November 2006.

"'National' Churches in a Denominational Society:  Building National Methodist and Presbyterian Churches in Washington, D.C."  Annual meeting of the Southeastern Commission on the Study of Religion, Atlanta, Ga., March 2006.

"Campus as Sacred Space: Origins and Cultural Meanings Samford's Colonial Revival Campus." Faculty Shop-Talk, Samford University, October 2005.

"Public Religion, Shaping Past and Present America." Response to papers, annual meeting of the Southeastern Commission on the Study of Religion, March 2005.

"Conduits of Faith: Reinhold Niebuhr on Liturgy." Annual meeting of the North American Academy of Liturgy, January 2003.

"Author meets Critics" presentation: The Churches of Christ in the Twentieth Century: Homer Hailey's Personal Journey of Faith, by David Edwin Harrell, Jr.  Southeast American Religious History Discussion Group, November 2001.

"Conduits of Faith: Reinhold Niebuhr on Liturgy and the Church."  Faculty workshop on religion, Samford University, April 2001.

"Walking Tour of Boston Houses of Worship." Co-presenter with Peter W. Williams and Sally Promey.  Annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Boston, Mass., November 1999.

"Exhibiting the Church: Twentieth-Century Protestant Gothic Monuments in the United States." Annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Orlando, Fla., November 1998.

"Tradition, Church, and Changes in Protestant Appreciation of Liturgy: The Order of St. Luke in the Methodist Church in the 1950s."  Annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, San Francisco, Calif., November 1997.

"Struggling to Unite the Church and the World: American Protestant Church Renewal, 1947-1968."  Harvard Colloquium in American Religious History, March 1995.

"Turning Outward: Mainline Protestant Approaches to Campus Ministry, 1950-1970."  Lilly Research Group Conference, Harvard Divinity School, May 1994.


Before Scopes: Evangelicalism, Education, and Evolution, by Charles A. Israel, Journal of the American Academy of Religion (forthcoming).

Steel City Gospel: Protestant Laity and Reform in Progressive-Era Pittsburgh, by Keith A. Zahniser, Religious Studies Review 32 (January 2006): 56.

Religion, Education and the American Experience: Reflections on Religion and American Public Life, edited by Edith L. Blumhofer.  H-AmRel@h-net.msu.edu discussion list.  July 2003.  http://www.h-net.msu.edu/reviews/.

The Visual Culture of American Religions, edited by David Morgan and Sally M. Promey.  Religious Studies Review 29 (April 2003): 207-208.

Christianity in Appalachia, edited by Bill L. Leonard.  Religious Studies Review 29 (April 2003): 207.

Aspiration: Birmingham's Historic Houses of Worship, by John M. Schnorrenberg and Richard Payne.  Alabama Review 55 (October 2002): 304-305.

The Stone Carvers: Master Craftsmen of Washington National Cathedral, by Marjorie Hunt.  Journal of the American Academy of Religion 69 (fall 2001): 710-712.

"Schism and Faithfulness in the Churches of Christ."  Review of The Churches of Christ in the Twentieth Century: Homer Hailey's Personal Journey of Faith, by David Edwin Harrell, Jr.  H-AmRel@h-net.msu.edu discussion list.  June 2000.  http://www.h-net.msu.edu/reviews/.

Financing American Religion, edited by Mark Chaves and Sharon L. Miller.  Religious Studies Review 26 (July 2000): 298.

Dictionary of Heresy Trials in American Christianity, edited by George H. Shriver. Church History 67 (September 1998): 598-599.


"Teaching for Mission at Samford."  Department self-study, Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, 2003-2005.

Assisted in planning proposal.

Faculty Development Grant, Samford University, 2003-2004.

Institutional Renewal Grant, Rhodes Consultation on the Future of the Church-Related College, 2001-2003.

Rhodes Consultation on the Future of the Church-Related College, 2000-2001.

Dissertation Fellowship, Louisville Institute, 1998-1999.

Mellon Dissertation Research Fellowship, Harvard University, 1996.

Lilly Endowment Fellowship, Harvard University, 1993-1995.


Phi Beta Kappa, Beta of Virginia chapter, 1992.

Echols Scholar, University of Virginia, 1989-1993.


"The Transformation of Christian Worship: Recent History of Protestant and Catholic Practices (1960-2000)."  Calvin Seminars in Christian Scholarship, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Mich., June 26 to July 7, 2006.

"Teaching Theology Through Music."  Notre Dame Institute for Church Life and the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, Syracuse, Ind., May 23 to June 4, 2004.

"Teaching the New American Religious History."  Material History of American Religion Project.  Vanderbilt Divinity School, Nashville, Tenn., June 5-7, 2001.


Department of Religion, Samford University

Associate Professor, 2005 to present.
Assistant Professor, 1999 to 2005.

Sacred Space

American Religious History

Religion and American Culture, 1945-1970 (topic for Relg 371, sophomore majors seminar, fall 2003)

Liberalism, Fundamentalism and Protestant Culture (topic for Relg 371, sophomore-level religion majors' seminar, 2004-2005, spring 2006)

History of Christianity

Monarchs, Bishops, and Martyrs: The English Reformation (travel course, taught in London)

Contemporary Theology

Christian Worship: History & Theology

Theology, Congregational Song, and Christian Community (co-taught with Paul A. Richardson)

Introduction to World Religions

Ritual and Myths in World Religions

Biblical Perspectives (introduction to the bible required of all undergraduates)

Committee on the Study of Religion, Harvard University

Tutorial Instructor, spring 1996, fall 1997 to spring 1998.

Designed and taught small seminars to third-year undergraduates.

The Religious Cultures of America, Changes since World War II

African American Christianity and Music

Community and Identity in Modern Religious Movements

Teaching Fellow, spring 1996, spring 1997-spring 1998.

Assisted in designing and teaching lecture courses.

Religion in Multi-Cultural America (Prof. Diana L. Eck)

Religion in America, c. 1500 - 1870 (Prof. David D. Hall)

Lived Religion in America (Prof. David D. Hall)

Ritual and the Religious Life (Prof. Lawrence E. Sullivan)

Christian Bible and Its Interpretation (Prof. Peter J. Gomes)


Acting Co-chair, Department of Religion, fall 2006.

Faculty Senate, Dec. 2004 to present.

"Exploring Catholicism" 8-week student cadre, University Ministries, fall 2006.

"The University and Christianity" 8-week student cadre, University Ministries, fall 2005.

Search committees, Departments of Religion and Philosophy, 1999 to 2006.

Chair, Howard College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum Committee, 2004-05; member, 2002 to 2005.

Convenor, Faculty Discussion Groups.  Rhodes Consultation on the Future of the Church-Related College, Samford University, May 2000 to May 2003.

Acting Chair, Department of Religion, summer 2002.

Assistant Chair, Department of Religion, 2001-02.

Consultant, Theological Exploration of Vocation Grant Application Committee, spring 2002.

Member, Theological Exploration of Vocation Planning Grant Application Committee, fall 2001.


On World Religions

Catholic Students' Association, Birmingham (September 2006); Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence (May 2006); Student Ministries, Samford University (March 2004); State Farm Insurance, Alabama-Mississippi Regional Office, (August 2003); Our Lady of Sorrows School (May 2003); Unitarian-Universalist Church of Birmingham (December 2002); Alabama Gas Corporation, Selma office (September 2002); South Points Association for Exploring Religion (August 2002); Alabama Gas Corporation, State Diversity Council (March 2002); Riverchase United Methodist Church (December 2001); Trinity United Methodist Church (October 2001); Cathedral Church of the Advent (Episcopal) (December 2000).

On Islam

Brookwood Baptist Church (May 2006, February 2006); Core Curriculum faculty workshop, Samford University (September 2005); P.E.O. Sisterhood (August 2005); St. Luke's Episcopal Church (April 2005); Catholic Students' Association, University of Alabama at Birmingham (February 2005); St. Luke's Episcopal Church (October 2003); Trinity United Methodist Church (November 2002); Mt. Royal Towers (February, May 2002); St. Stephen the Martyr Catholic Church (February 2002); Our Lady of Sorrows School (October 2001); Student Ministries (September 2001).

On Christian Worship

Catholic Students' Association, Samford University (November 2005); Birmingham Episcopal Campus Ministries (April 2001); Shades Crest Baptist Church (September 2000).

On Religious Architecture

Dawson Memorial Baptist Church (April 2006); Samford University Auxiliary (December 2002).

On American Religious History

Alabama Company, Jamestowne Society (May 2006); New Horizons at University of Alabama at Birmingham (May 2004); Our Lady of Sorrows School (March 2004); Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Alabama (December 2002); Cathedral Church of the Advent (Episcopal) (May 2001).


American Academy of Religion

American Society of Church History

Historical Society of the Episcopal Church

North American Academy of Liturgy