Sunday, February 20, 2022

Brazilian Immigrants and Faith

Having been a lay minister for a number of years with a Brazilian immigrant congregation in Newark, New Jersey, I've had close contact with the experience of Brazilians who have come to the United States to make a life. Many have stayed and found ways to legal status, while others have returned to Brazil. While here, the struggle to make their way can be quite rocky, and for many there is solace in faith. Although I am no longer much in contact with the Brazilian community in New Jersey, of course I still have great interest in the topic. 

Dr. João Chaves is Assistant Director for Programming at the Hispanic Theological Initiative at Princeton Theological Seminary, and he has a book out entitled Migrational Religion: Context and Creativity in the Latinx Diaspora. It was fascinating for me to hear him interviewed recently on The Distillery, a podcast of the Princeton Theological Seminary. So much of what he shares resonates with my own experience among Brazilian immigrants, and he sheds some light on the relationship between Brazilian-Americans and the US denominations with which they claim affiliation. This is particularly the case with Brazilian Baptists and the Southern Baptist Convention.  I have direct personal familiarity with how this plays out among independent Christian Churches as well, and it's pretty much the same.

For details, you'll just have to listen to the podcast