Mixed Congregations

After reading Marti’s, “Affinity, Identity, and Transcendence: The Experience of Religious Racial Integration in Diverse Congregations”, I began to question the diversity of my own childhood congregation back home and the other congregations I have attended in the past. Marti describes “Affinity with the Congregation”, “Identity Reorientation”, and “Ethnic Transcendence” as three moments that involve the acceptance and acknowledgement of mixing backgrounds within a congregation. I grew up in a traditional Roman Catholic church which was predominately white with a few Hispanics and African-Americans. I did not notice the lack of diversity in my church until I attended my friends Hare Krishna (ISKCON) temple in Laguna Beach. In elementary school, I spent many weekend there and I began to realize the diversity there than at my own church. Their temple was made up of an almost equal mix of whites, Indians, Asians, and a few African-Americans. Although not all races were equally represented, it was more mixed than what I had experienced before. For this course, my first congregational visit was at a “progressive” Christian church. The demographic of the church was nearly all white, but they expressed the importance of standing with our multiracial “brothers and sisters” through times of trouble and success. I think that as time and beliefs progress, some churches will grow more mixed and others will become more strictly defined by the attendance of one race.