Religious Congregations as Community Hubs and Sources of Social Bonding

  • Ram A. CnaanEmail author
  • H. Daniel Heist
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


This chapter views congregations as community organizations that enhance face-to-face supportive relationships for the people that belong to them. Using Tönnies’ continuum, we claim that in the United States congregations increase the Gemeinschaft form of social connectedness. As formal associations in the local ecology, congregations provide member support and benefits that exceed most other community organizations. We will demonstrate that congregations are common in all American communities, and that they serve as a major source of mutual support and bonding social capital for their members in addition to caring for outsiders.

keywords Congregations Community building Gemeinschaft Social capital Religious community 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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