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date: 23 September 2018

Abstract and Keywords

From the perspective of the sociology of religion, this article looks at what is a relatively new kind of religious collectivity: the congregation. This form of religious association consists of a locally situated, multi-generational, voluntary group of people who see themselves as distinct and engage jointly in religious activities. While closely associated with contemporary religious practice in the United States, where there are well over 3,000 such congregations, 80 per cent of which are Protestant in persuasion, this form of gathering may have had its origins among the Jews in exile in Babylon in 586 BCE and would appear to be a particularly appropriate forum for worship among religious communities in diaspora whose culture goes unsupported by the wider society. The discussion sees the congregation becoming ever more important as a point of communal identification as global migration increases in scale.

Keywords: religious collectivity, religious activities, congregations, United States, Protestant, communal identification, global migration

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