Integrating Immigrants into the Life of Canadian Urban Christian Congregations: Findings from a National Survey

by Rich Janzen, Mark D. Chapman,and James W. Watson

Abstract:

In just one generation the cultural face of Canadian society has been transformed. The relative level of immigration has increased rapidly as has diversity among those immigrants. This article reports on the findings of a national survey that offers a baseline of how and to what extent local Canadian Christian congregations are responding to this cultural diversity. In particular, it explores how churches are integrating immigrants within the life of their local congregations. This article uses a systems change perspective to frame immigrant integration. This perspective emphasizes three requirements for change: vision, structure and processes that promote immigrant integration. Data was collected using an online survey of urban congregations in the nine urban Canadian communities having an immigrant population above the national average (20% foreign-born). Using these data this article explores the full range of immigrant integration efforts from the initial welcome to inclusion into congregational life. It describes the present status of immigrant integration, details reported successes and challenges and notes respondent suggestions for better integration. Results of this survey provide first-time baseline insights into how a range of urban Christian congregations from across Canada are presently responding to the Canadian immigrant reality.

Reference: 

Janzen, Rich, Mark D. Chapman, and James W. Watson. 2012. Integrating Immigrants into the Life of Canadian Urban Christian Congregations: Findings from a National Survey. Review of Religious Research 53, no. 4: 441-470. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13644-011-0025-2