Year of Publication

2012

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Dr. Shaunna L. Scott

Abstract

It is commonly said that 11:00 A.M. Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America. The contact theory explains how interracial contact can help to ameliorate racism - and this type of interaction can easily be fostered in a church environment. Durkheim's idea of the "collective effervescence" felt in ritual experiences would be beneficial for crossing racial lines and improving race relations in the U.S. in multiracial churches. A great deal of recent sociological work has focused on the phenomenon of church segregation on a nationwide scale. This paper compares characteristics found in nationwide religious congregation surveys and case studies to the 2007 Kent County Congregations Survey to identify particularities in the Kent County region and scrutinize the previously identified characteristics and developing theories on multiracial congregations. In Kent County, the common characteristics of multiracial churches are being in an urban location (as opposed to a suburban or rural location), and having a higher percentage of theologically liberal members (for congregations less than 20 years old). Implications and suggestions for further research follow.

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