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Diversity in the Pews

March 28, 2005 by

The Church of Saint Joseph in Spring Valley, N.Y. has something few other churches have: diversity. Weekly attendance is at nearly 4,000, spread over services in four languages: English, Spanish, Haitian-Creole and Polish.

As the New York Times (registration required) described the scene:

She pointed to a bulletin board where flags from more than a dozen countries surrounded a quotation from the Book of Psalms: “O Lord, let all nations praise you.”

The same phrase is repeated on the church’s bumper sticker, and its meaning was evident in the church pews during the 9 a.m. English Mass. Skin tones and clothing representing many nationalities could be seen in nearly every row, the physical differences only highlighted as people knelt to pray in unison.

The article doesn’t describe how Saint Joseph’s became so diverse (this post links to a few potential resources), but overcoming institutional racism and embracing diversity is something the church must do. The blogosphere has been dealing with this charge lately, when will the church?

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks


When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998 and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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One Response to “Diversity in the Pews”

  • Craig
    April 7, 2007

    Wow….
    Why is “diversity” always linked to race? What about the disabled?
    (I am) What about CULTURAL diversity meaning accepting Metallers,Punks, Gothics and Rivetheads, Emo fans, whatever, into the church with out trying to “clean them up” and get them to do church like you, but to encourage them to play out their faith where they are most relevant, in their Culture.



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