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Helping Diversity Grow in American Congregations

While only 7 percent of U.S. congregations are multiracial, continuing waves of immigration are changing U.S. demographics, a fact that raises new challenges for faith communities and their leaders.  Welcoming recent immigrants is particularly challenging for traditional mainline Protestant churches, which continued to be 91 percent white in 2008. Factors that contribute to the inability of mainline Protestant churches to create multiracial congregations include lack of existing diversity, immigrant interest in creating ethnic worship communities, and the nonexistence of historic connections to mainline Protestant denominations in immigrant home countries. The failure to integrate often means local mainline congregations increasingly fail to reflect the communities within which they are located. For more about the challenge of integrating congregations, read this article from Faith & Leadership, which includes group discussion questions.




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