Bilingual Pentecostals

Survey Coordinator Brazil survey_coord_brazil at
Wed Jul 2 17:46:23 UTC 2003


I found this article very interesting, and I think I can add a bit from the
Canadian perspective.

First of all, I haven't met any Puerto Ricans in Canada.  The largest group
of Hispanics are Salvadoran (who arrived in the '80's), follow by Chileans
(who arrived in the '70's).  Like the Hispanic churches in the US, the ones
in Canada are in decline, but there are differences in the process.

In the melting pot of the US, the Puerto Ricans tend live together in the
same neighbourhoods.  They're shifting to English, but they still want to
retain their community identity and distinctiveness from mainstream US
society (I'd use the politically correct term if I knew it).  They believe
they can achieve this by keeping their own style of music, worship, etc.

In Canada, we like to say we're different from the melting pot down south.
We call ourselves a "Cultural Mosaic", or "tossed salad", and the official
line is that our country encourages and celebrates cultural diversity.
However, if second generation Hispanic Pentecostals continue attending
church, they prefer to switch to a regular English speaking one.  (Since
French Protestant churches are very rare, I'm not too sure about the
situation in Quebec).  Second generation Hispanic immigrants also tend to
move to the suburbs and integrate much more seamlessly into mainstream
Canadian culture.  I know one Cuban pastor in Ontario who is trying to
immitate the model described in this article, and he isn't receiving much
support from anybody.  The only way Hispanic churches in Canada are
surviving today is due to fresh immigration.

Why this difference between Canada and the US Pentecostal churches?  I think
it has something to do with the dynamics of being Puerto Rican in the
States, and with the attitudes of the mainstream Americans and Canadians.
"Melting Pot" and "Cultural Mosaic" might not be as accurate a picture as we
would like.

Stan Anonby

P.S.  Could you change my address from survey_coord_brazil at to
stan-sandy_anonby at  My views aren't necessarily representative of

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