This article serves as an introduction to the rest of the articles in this special issue devoted to the history of religion in British Columbia. "Religion has not occupied a prominent place in historical writing on British Columbia. Preoccupied with the province's political and economic development and with questions of class, race, and more recently gender, few historians have given serious attention to the influence of religion and religious institutions in British Columbia's past. The essays contained in this special issue demonstrate, however, that religion has played an important role in the life of British Columbia and that the study of religion can shed important light on key aspects of BC history" (p. ). "The few scholarly works which have addressed the influence of religion in the province have tended to focus on the encounter between missionaries and First Nations peoples in the nineteenth century" (p. 6). "The presence and influence of Asians in British Columbia has been one of the principle preoccupations of the province's historians. Relatively little attention, however, has been given to the religious traditions brought by Chinese, Japanese and East Indian immigrants and the efforts of Christian missionary groups to 'Canadianize' these communities" (p. 6). "Both Knowles and Gresko stress the importance of moving beyond the institutional church and entering into the religious world of the people" (p. 7). "Much religious history suffers from a narrow denominational focus" (p. 7). "The essays presented in this issue offer some new perspectives on the history of religion in British Columbia. Much work, however, remains to be done. Historians of religion must begin to go beyond mainstream Christianity and examine the religious traditions of indigenous peoples and those brought by immigrants. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the social significance of religion, we need to adopt comparative, transdenominational and interfaith approaches. There is a need to move out of the pulpit and into the pew in order to probe more thoroughly the religious life of the laity and to examine topics such as folk traditions, popular piety, and the influence of religion in defining gender, childhood and family life. Historians of religion need to go beyond their traditional reliance of written documents generated by clergy and institutions and examine sources such as architecture, folk art, music, ritual and oral history" (p. 7-8).