Religious connections help new immigrants with social integration


Staff member
By Fabian Dawson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

At his church in Surrey, Pastor David Drysdale has been witnessing a change in the make-up of the congregation over the past two decades.
What was once a place of worship frequented by a mainly white congregation, the Pentecostal Tabernacle of British Columbia today is the spiritual epicenter for new Canadians hailing from over 30 different ancestries.
“We have Jamaicans, South Americans, Africans, Indians and people from Hungary and Fiji, to name a few,” said Drysdale. “Next January, we are getting a new staff pastor from China.”
Drysdale says religion plays a big role in many new immigrants’ lives, and joining a congregation in a new country “enhances their new lives.”
“Ours is a place where new immigrants can develop their new lives in Canada with a new church family,” he said, adding he was not surprised at the latest data from Statistics Canada that shows significant changes in the nation’s religious landscape.
According to a new report looking at the evolution of religiosity from 1985 to 2019, “(c)ompared with individuals born in Canada, those born outside Canada were more likely to report having a religious affiliation, to consider their religious and spiritual beliefs important to how they live their lives, and to engage in religious activities in groups or on their own.”
These differences were more pronounced among younger birth cohorts.
In terms of participation in religious or spiritual activities, the most significant difference between people born in Canada and those born outside Canada was...continued.

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