Belonging and participation in mixed-race congregations.
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Martinez, Brandon C.
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There has been a recent push towards racial diversity in congregations by many religious leaders. However, racially diverse congregations, which have been a popular subject amongst researchers, are both rare and seemingly difficult to sustain (Emerson, 2006). Testing an underlying assumption of organizational ecology theory, this study contributes to the discussion of race in congregations by examining belonging and participation in congregations with more than one racial group. Results of multilevel modeling using data from the 2001 U.S Congregational Life Survey indicate that those who are a part of the numerical racial majority in a congregation experience higher levels of belonging and participate at a deeper level than those who belong to a numerical minority racial group. Moreover, cross-level interactions between numerical majority status and the racial proportion of the congregation reveal that these differences increase as mixed-race congregations become more racially homogenous.