Recent theories of civic engagement suggest three major pathways by which worship communities could promote the social and civic incorporation of recent immigrants: providing immigrants with social capital and supplying linkages to the wider society (the social capital argument); playing a role themselves as civic actors (the civil society argument); and giving them civic skills and mobilizing them for civic or political action (the civic participation model). Both as civic actors and in mobilizing members, worship communities also shape people's conceptions of themselves as citizens, promoting a particular identity as players in the civic arena. Worship communities differ in the way each of these pathways plays out, depending upon the circumstances of the group's immigration and reception in the United States, the organizational culture of the worship community, and the interpretation of its religious tradition that shapes it.
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