Immigrant worship communities promote the civic and social incorporation of immigrants in varying ways and to varying degrees, depending upon the demographics of the group, the organizational culture of the worship community, its religious tradition, and leaders' interpretations of that tradition. Such diversity undermines recent claims that immigrant worship communities are being transformed under the impress of the American “congregational template”. On the contrary, in many cases they bring distinctive patterns of organization and practice to American religion, and in some cases are transforming American churches. As ethnic and religious “outsiders” defending the terms on which they will be incorporated into American society, they take their place in a long line that has defined American pluralism since the origins of the republic.
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