Detroit Today: How is declining Church attendance affecting the Black community?

Church attendance numbers are declining in America, a trend that’s only accelerated since the pandemic.

Inside St. Hedwig Catholic Church

St. Hedwig Catholic Church in Southwest Detroit.

Historically, temples, churches and mosques have been spaces of not just spiritual attainment, but also places to advocate for political and social change.

Examples of religious leaders advocating for social justice are numerous within the Black community, both in the past — with those like Rev. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X — and the present, like Rev. William Barber II and Rev. Al Sharpton.

But church attendance numbers are declining in America, including within the Black community — a trend that’s only accelerated since the pandemic.

Jason Oliver Evans, a PhD candidate at the University of Virginia focusing on Christian theology and African American religion, joined Nick Austin on Detroit Today Monday to discuss the shifting role of the Black church and his own personal religious journey.

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Jason Oliver Evans is a PhD candidate in the religious studies department at the University of Virginia, focusing on Christian theology and African American religion. He acknowledges that while attendance is declining, African Americans are still religious and attend Protestant services at steady numbers. 

“Even though there is a decline in African American churches, African American churches still exist and their decline is at a slower pace than the white, Protestant counterparts,” said Evans. 

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    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.