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Urban Church ImaginedReligion, Race, and Authenticity in the City$
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Jessica M. Barron and Rhys Williams

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781479877669

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479877669.001.0001

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“Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

“Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

(p.144) 6 “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”
Urban Church Imagined

Jessica M. Barron

Rhys H. Williams

NYU Press

In what has been a story of congregational tensions, some conflict, and uncertainties about the church’s direction, it remains the case that people are attending Downtown Church and many are quite invested in it and hope for its success. This chapter asks why that is by exploring the dynamics of religious commitment and what congregants get out of their belonging. For many there are personal benefits, such as enjoying the well-produced worship services. Other benefits, such as spiritual growth, or making friends within the congregation, were also mentioned. For others, the church represents a community that may be a good thing for the city—an interracial church that can help mend the city’s racial divides. The chapter also finds some differences in the language of commitment between white and black congregants. Black congregants often spoke of being at the church as a “calling” and often used the idea of family to describe church relationships.

Keywords:   calling, community, family, religious commitment, spiritual growth, interracial church

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