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From Pews to Participation: The Effect of Congregation Activity and Context on Bridging Civic Engagement

Kraig Beyerlein, John R. Hipp
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/sp.2006.53.1.97 97-117 First published online: 1 February 2006

Abstract

This article identifies two important conditions under which participation in religious congregations influences active involvement in civic organizations that provide charitable services to and establish other types of linkages with residents in the wider community. We find that while the frequently employed measure of religious service attendance has minimal effects on participation in bridging types of civic organizations, congregation activity beyond religious service attendance has a substantial positive effect on participation in charitable and linking types of civic organizations. In addition, our findings demonstrate that religious tradition significantly moderates the extent to which congregation activity channels bridging civic engagement. While active involvement in black Protestant, mainline Protestant, and Catholic congregations predicts participation in substantially more bridging civic organizations, active involvement in evangelical Protestant congregations has little effect on this participation.

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