Australia is one of the most multicultural countries in the world, with more than a quarter of the population born overseas. In recent years there have been debates around the best approach to ethnic composition of churches in a context of migration and multiculturalism. Using data from 1,344 churches who participated in the 2016 National Church Life Survey, this paper explores the relationships between ethnic diversity (operationalised as diversity in the countries of birth of attenders) and congregational health and vitality, in terms of religiousness of the congregation, positive evaluation of worship services, bonding within the congregation, visionary leadership and innovativeness, the proportion of the congregation who are youth and young adults, the proportion who are newcomers to church, and growth in the size of the church. Ethnic diversity contributed positively to religiousness, the presence of young people and positive worship evaluation, and negatively to bonding. Analyses were also conducted separately for Anglican, Catholic, Uniting, Baptist and Lutheran churches, indicating that ethnic diversity is particularly important for understanding vitality in Catholic parishes.
|Title of host publication||Research in the social scientific study of religion|
|Editors||Ralph W. Hood, Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor|
|Place of Publication||Leiden, The Netherlands|
|Number of pages||35|
|Publication status||Published - 30 Nov 2020|