HomePhilippine Association for the Sociology of Religion Journalvol. 1 no. 1 (2014)

The Nigerian Pentecostal Churches in the UK: Community Identity and Aspects of Boundary Maintenance

Stephen J. Hunt

Discipline: Religion



A measure of contemporary academic work has come to rigorously challenge the conventional view that in Western liberal democracies there is an observable narrowing of the fissure between the secular public square and the religious domain of faith communities. It is in the public sphere, so it is frequently presently argued, where religion can be seen as establishing a common space in the context of diversity and pluralism. This paper engages with such theorising by considering a relatively fresh wave of black Christian revivalism in the UK, a form of Pentecostalism originating in West Africa and subsequently transported to a localised setting of diaspora. The paper will conjecture that the churches involved conform to early academic surveys which interpret Pentecostalism as principally a means by which a black ethnic community is able to adapt and respond to social marginalisation and in doing so construct elements of boundary maintenance with mainstream society and the public sphere. The discussion will be with reference to the largest church of its type in the UK, the Redeemed Christian Church of God.