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Race Differences in Congregational Social Service Activity

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This article uses data from the 1998 National Congregations Study, a survey of a representative sample of 1,236 religious congregations in the United States, to examine the social service activity of African-American congregations. The first goal is to explore the question of whether African-American religious congregations participate more (or less) than other congregations in social service provision in general. Then, the focus shifts to specific types of social service programs in order to determine if African-American congregations tend to specialize in the provision of certain types of services. The rates at which congregations support nine different types of social service programs are reported, and participation in programs is then subjected to logistic regression analysis. Significant race effects for African-American congregations exist for four types of programs: clothing, substance abuse, tutoring/mentoring, and nonreligious education. These findings, particularly the effect on education and mentoring programs, counter the assertion by Lincoln and Mamiya (1990) that African-American congregations are not doing enough in areas that are critical to African-American youth.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: The University of Arizona

Publication date: 01 June 2003

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