Why are black worshipers leaving white evangelical churches?
The New York Times says to answer that question you must start with how those churches attracted blacks:
In the last couple of decades, there had been signs, however modest, that eleven o’clock on Sunday morning might cease to be the most segregated hour in America. “Racial reconciliation” was the talk of conferences and the subject of formal resolutions. Large Christian ministries were dedicated to the aim of integration, and many black Christians decided to join white-majority congregations. Some went as missionaries, called by God to integrate. Others were simply drawn to a different worship style — short, conveniently timed services that emphasized a personal connection to God.
The fruits could be seen if you looked in the right places, particularly within the kind of nondenominational megachurches that gleam from the roadsides here in the sprawl of Dallas-Fort Worth. In 2012, according to a report from the National Congregation Study, more than two-thirds of those attending white-majority churches were worshiping alongside at least some black congregants, a notable increase since a similar survey in 1998. This was more likely to be the case in evangelical churches than in mainline Protestant churches, and more likely in larger ones than in smaller ones.
Reconciliation talk and aiming for integration have not proved to be enough. In particular, predominantly white evangelical congregations are losing black congregants because of a lack of awareness of the concerns of African Americans, or even an effort to learn those concerns. Clearly evident support for Mr. Trump in these congregation has accelerated the exodus.
Were mainline churches, like The Episcopal Church, to have had as much recent success integrating would they also have the difficulty connecting with the concerns of black members? (Mr. Trump aside.)
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