Religious Congregations as Community Hubs and Sources of Social Bonding

Ram A. Cnaan, H. Daniel Heist

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbooks of Sociology and Social Research
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameHandbooks of Sociology and Social Research
ISSN (Print)1389-6903
ISSN (Electronic)2542-839X

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature.


  • Community building
  • Congregations
  • Gemeinschaft
  • Religious community
  • Social capital
  • keywords

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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