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Churches Unusual: Worship and Broad-Based Organizing in Two Brooklyn Congregations

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AbstractThe following is an ethnographical study of two ‘churches unusual’ in Brooklyn, New York, USA: ‘unusual’ because all are members of a local citizen’s organization. East Brooklyn Congregations (EBC) is itself an affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), a broad-based organizing network grounded in the idea that the most potent power is found in community relationships. The ethnography presented here of two EBC member institutions—Hope Christian Center and St Paul Community Baptist Church—moves back and forth between each congregation’s worship and participation in the citizens’ organization to which it belongs. In juxtaposing their religious practice and organizing, this article explores the relationship between them, asking how religious identities are changed in the organizing process.

Affiliations: 1: Princeton University USA, URL:


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