Wednesday, July 2, 2003

A very interesting twist on our language discussion of last week:

Spanish language Pentecostal churches find that younger people want their services in English

Attendance at many Pentecostal churches in the New York metropolitan region is dropping, church officials say, as more young people insist on speaking English, despite maintaining an intense relationship to Hispanic culture.As a result, Monte Sion and others are reversing the reason they were founded in the 1950's, when large groups of people arriving from Puerto Rico were eager to find religious services in their own language, and are managing to survive, and even thrive, by giving English equal billing.

Taking that step has not always been easy. In some cases, the English speakers have splintered off and formed a richer and more lively congregation. But older worshipers, and the ruling body of the Pentecostal church, worry about the loss of the language that had offered a safe harbor for newcomers half a century ago.