Portraits of American Life Study
Hosted by The ARDA
The PALS seeks to understand the impact of religion in everyday life, and ultimately the connections between religious change and other forms of change among diverse individuals and families over the course of their lives.

Multi-Ethnic Congregations

Below is a list of resources intended to support Religious Leaders and their staff. Many of these offer links to additional studies about religion, congregations, and clergy, as well as books and publications.

If there are resources or other topics you feel should be included, send us an email (PALScomments@thearda.com). We will consider it.


The following books are based mostly on scientific research. There are many other books on the topic of multi-ethnic congregations, written from other perspectives.

People of the Dream: Multiracial Congregations in the United States
by Michael O. Emerson

This book is an in-depth study of contemporary religious multiracial congregations.

[Click here to purchase this book at Amazon.com.]

Against All Odds: The Struggle for Racial Integration in Religious Organizations
By Brad Christerson, Michael O. Emerson and Korie Edwards

This book gives the reader an inside, visceral sense of what it is like to be part of a multiracial religious organization as well as a theoretical understanding of these experiences.

[Click here to purchase this book at Amazon.com.]

United By Faith: The Multiracial Congregation as an Answer to the Problem of Race
By Curtiss Paul DeYoung, Michael O. Emerson, George Yancy and Karen Chai Kim

This book examines the promise and pitfalls of racial integraton within churches.

[Click here to purchase this book at Amazon.com.]

Divided By Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem on Race in America
By Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith

This book explores how white evangelicals perpetuate racial divisions.

[Click here to purchase this book at Amazon.com.]

The Multicultural Leader: Developing a Catholic Personality
By Dan Sheffield

[Click here to purchase this book at Amazon.com.]

In Every Tongue: The Racial & Ethnic Diversity of the Jewish People
By Diane Tobin, Gary A. Tobin, and Scott Rubin

[Click here to purchase this book at Amazon.com.

Black Buddha: Changing the Face of American Buddhism
By Choyin Rangdrol

[Click here to purchase this book at Amazon.com.]

A Mosaic of Believers: Diversity and Innovation in a Multiethnic Church
By Gerardo Marti

[Click here to purchase this book at Amazon.com.]

One Body, One Spirit: Principles of Successful Multiracial Churches
By George A. Yancey

[Click here to purchase this book at Amazon.com.]

The Elusive Dream: The Power of Race in Interracial Churches
By Korie L. Edwards

[Click here to purchase this book at Amazon.com.]

Crossing the Ethnic Divide: The Multiethnic Church on a Mission
By Kathleen Garces-Foley

[Click here to purchase this book at Amazon.com.]


The New Culture


Mosaix Global Network


Mulitcultural Church Network

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Multicultural Ministries

BridgeLeader Network

Ethnic Harvest: Resources for Multicultural Ministry

Race to Unity


“Interracial Churches,” from PBS’s Religion & Ethics Newsweekly

“Striving Towards Multiethnic Church” (Inner Compass interview with Gerardo Marti) by Calvin College

Gerardo Marti on Successful Multicultural Churches


“The Call to a Multicultural Church,” Defining Moments Series, Speakers: David Anderson, Nancy Beach, Bill Hybels

Other Publications

Can Megachurches Bridge the Racial Divide?” David Van Biema, Time, January 11, 2010

“Forum—Racially and Ethnically Diverse Congregations.” This is a special issue with several articles about multiethnic congregations. Journal the Scientific Study of Religion (Volume 47 Issue 1, March 2008).

“The Costs of Diversity in Religious Organizations: An In-Depth Case Study” Brad Christerson, Michael Emerson, Sociology of Religion, Vol. 64, No. 2 (Summer, 2003), pp. 163-181.

“Multiracial Congregations: An Analysis of Their Development and a Typology” Michael O. Emerson, Karen Chai Kim, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. 42, No. 2 (Jun., 2003), pp. 217-227

“The Mosque in America: A National Portrait.” Ihsan Bagby, Paul M. Perl, and Bryan T. Froehle, A Report from the Mosque Study Project, 2001, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Washington, D.C.

“African Americans in Interracial Congregations: An Analysis of Demographics, Social Networks, and Social Attitudes.” Emerson, Michael O., and George Yancey. Review of Religious Research 49:301-318.

“Faith that Separates: Evangelicals and Black-White Relations.” Emerson, Michael O. 2003. In A Public Faith: Evangelicals and Civic Engagement (Michael Cromartie, ed.). Colorado: Rowman & Littlefield.

“The Costs of Diversity in Religious Organizations: An In-Depth Case Study.” Christerson, Brad, and Michael O. Emerson. 2003. Sociology of Religion 64:163-182.

“Integrated Sundays: An Exploratory Study into the Formation of Multiracial Churches.” Yancey, George, and Michael O. Emerson. 2003. Sociological Focus 36:111-126.

“Equal in Christ, But Not in the World: White Conservative Protestants and Explanations of Black-White Inequality.” Emerson, Michael O., Christian Smith, and David Sikkink. 1999. Social Problems 46:398-417.

“Cultural Pluralism in the United States, 1980.” U.S. Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C., U.S. Catholic Conference.

“Racial Diversity, Gender Inclusiveness and SES Diversity in Christian Congregations: Exploring the Connections of Racism, Sexism, and Classism in Multiracial and Non-Multiracial Churches.” George Yancey and Yu Jung Kim (2008) Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 47(1): 103-111.

“Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity, 2000.” U.S. Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C., U.S. Catholic Conference.

“In Search of Integration: Racial/ethnic Interrelationships in a Muslim Community and the Process of Identity Construction.” Yuting Wang. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Notre Dame, Department of Sociology.

Give us your feedback!

Through out these sections, we invite you to enter the discussion about these findings and what their implications may be. Click on the COMMENT link to send your thoughts to pals@rice.edu. Where appropriate we will include comments for others to read and discuss. Names of contributors will not be posted, but, if you like, include your religious tradition.