RELIGION AS A STRENTH TO IMMIGRANTS - 99619

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  • From: Humanities, History
  • Posted on: Wed 11 Jul, 2018
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Although the value of religion is usually considered in spiritual terms, there are many social and economic benefits derived from participation in religious organizations. These aspects of religious participation are particularly salient to immigrants because they have many needs and few resources. Many evangelical efforts to win religious converts among immigrants begin with the provision of needed services. For example, Protestant missions offered English classes and medical and social services in their efforts to convert Chinese on the Pacific Coast in the early twentieth century. Protestant missionaries offered clothing, food, jobs and even candy to lure Italian families and their children to Protestant churches  There was a counter-effort to teach the catechism and offer social activities to children in Little Italy by the Catholic Church. Almost all immigrandethnic churches make major efforts to serve the social and economic needs of their congregants, including information about housing, social, and economic opportunities that facilitate their adaptation to American society reports that some Korean ethnic churches in New York City offer language classes, a full Korean lunch after services, and seminars on practical as well as spiritual topics. Churches also provide opportunities for fellowship with coethnics. Korean churches in New York City tend to be small and allow for extensive social interaction after services as well as celebrations for holidays and birthday parties for children and the elderly - operating as an extended family for many Korean immigrants Churches provide a means of continuity with the past through reaffirmation of traditional values as well as coping with the problems of the present. Churches assist new immigrants with finding housing and jobs as well as offering language assistance and navigating the American bureaucracy. Churches are particularly helpful for parents who need counseling on how to handle their American-born children and also provide special religious and education programs for children . The Korean Catholic Apostolate Church of Queens, with more than 2,500 members, runs a credit union that serves members of five other Korean Catholic churches in the New York City region. Bankston and Zhou (2000) note that while the manifest purpose of the Vietnamese Catholic Church in New Orleans is to provide a place of worship, the latent purpose is to bring people together so they can find out what opportunities are available, especially jobs and other economic opportunities. Religious participation in the Vietnamese community is also a means to ease the social adjustment of children and adolescents into American society. Several thousand Laotian Americans live in a rural area of Louisiana, initially drawn there by a government training program in pipefitting, welding, and other skills needed in the Gulf Coast region in the early 1980s (Zhou, Bankston and Kim, 2002). They first lived in public housing, but o