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The revival of the Evangelical Christians in Flushing

Today, evangelical Protestants have two hundred and ten religious sites (185 churches and 25 schools, bookstores and other enterprises), making up 51% of the religious sites in the Flushing area.

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Illustration: A Journey through NYC religions

 

 

After a long decline, evangelical Protestant religion revived its presence in Flushing because of the large increase of Asian and Hispanic residents. In the fact, their resurgence has been so pronounced that we have to reach back to the early beginnings of Flushing (then called Vlissingen) to find a similar religious situation. In those early days, evangelical faith was predominating because of the influx of another immigrant group, the English.

Over half (51%) of the residents in Community District 7 identify themselves as Asian American.  32% identify as Chinese American and 10% as Korean American.

Downtown Flushing, which has the most residents, about 69,000, of any of the neighborhoods in community district 7, is 67% Asian American, two-thirds of whom identify as Chinese Americans.

 

 

("Flushing" here means the Flushing area, including all of Community District 7.)

 

Chinese Americans have been in Flushing for a long time, but the modern religious growth was kicked off in the 1960s by Korean Americans who went onto found hundreds of Christian churches in the neighborhoods of Community District 7.

Today, evangelical Protestants have two hundred and ten religious sites (185 churches and 25 schools, bookstores and other enterprises), making up 51% of the religious sites in the Flushing area, and 75% of the Protestant sites.

Many of the churches have several congregations, and multiple ministries that operate here and globally. Some of the ministries actually are independent but are aided by being housed in a place of worship. However, we did not count the multiple congregations as independent religious sites, and often didn’t know that some ministries were actually separate and should have been counted.

Although there are many evangelical churches, the Flushing area is not overly "churched," as some local critics claim, in comparison to other parts of the city and the nation. There is one evangelical church per 1,361 people in Flushing, a distribution that is similar to that in other parts of the United States. Because it has such a large population, Flushing is not over-churched. As Flushing has become more Chinese American and Hispanic, the community is probably under-churched among these groups in comparison to the nation as a whole.

 

 

The rebound of evangelical Protestantism in Flushing is not surprising in the light of their renewed presence across all of New York City. The Asian American Christians’ increase in numbers is partly an extension of the fast growth of Christianity in Asia. Christianity is quickly becoming “de-Europeanized.”

 

Next week: The Korean American Christians of Flushing

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