The Battle for Latino Souls; Pentecostal Churches Are Using Savvy Marketing to Attract Traditionally Catholic Hispanics. A Holy Struggle in Chicago

By Campo-Flores, Arian | Newsweek, March 21, 2005 | Go to article overview

The Battle for Latino Souls; Pentecostal Churches Are Using Savvy Marketing to Attract Traditionally Catholic Hispanics. A Holy Struggle in Chicago


Campo-Flores, Arian, Newsweek


Byline: Arian Campo-Flores

Five years ago, Esperanza Hincapie had sunk into a pit of despondency. With a daughter in prison for murder, she contemplated swallowing a mouthful of pills to blot out her heartache. Then four Hispanic ladies from Rebano Companerismo Cristiano--a Pentecostal church in the Humboldt Park area of Chicago--came to visit her. They encircled Hincapie--a lifelong Roman Catholic from Colombia--laid hands on her and prayed. "I felt a tremendous chill," she recalls. "I began to cry and cry, and released everything." The following Sunday, one of the women drove her to Rebano, where Hincapie, 52, converted and permanently joined the flock. At her Catholic church, she says, "I always left feeling empty." At her new one, "I felt something beautiful--the presence of the Lord."

It was another successful conversion for Rebano, one of dozens of churches--including Lutheran, Jehovah's Witness and Seventh-day Adventist--that crowd the gritty streets of Hispanic-rich Humboldt Park and vie for Latino souls. Their ground battle offers a granular view of a broader struggle taking place nationwide. Forty million strong and deeply religious, Hispanics are traditionally Catholic. But, research shows, the longer they are in the United States, the more open they are to other faiths. While 72 percent of first-generation Hispanics are Catholic, according to one study, that figure drops to 52 percent by the third generation--a trend that has long troubled the Catholic hierarchy. Latinos remain the Catholic church's fastest-growing ethnic bloc, but they are also one of the fastest-growing segments among Mormons, Methodists and most other denominations. The result: all faiths are courting Hispanics with a marketing savvy more often associated with corporate America. These churches "have plans to grow, and they're aggressive," says Edwin Hernandez of the University of Notre Dame. "The competition is rampant."

That's especially true among Pentecostals. With their cathartic, music-filled worship style and aggressive proselytizing, they've made deep inroads in Hispanic communities. Of the 610 Latino churches that Hernandez and a research team have mapped in Chicago (as part of an ongoing study of how the churches attract and retain congregants), 202 are Pentecostal, compared with 119 that are Roman Catholic, though the latter are much bigger on average. In Humboldt Park-- a neighborhood filled with Puerto Ricans, Mexicans and Central Americans--Pentecostal churches abound in rich variety, from storefront outfits with strict codes governing dress and behavior, to warehouse operations with more lenient approaches. While the leaders tolerate one another, rivalries simmer close to the surface. From her perch at the tiny Iglesia de Dios Peniel, Pastor America Garcia eyes Rebano down the street--where female congregants might sport tight pants and belly rings--with suspicion. The place is rife with "libertinism," she says. "When people leave, they go to orgies, to movies, to dances!" Rebano's Lynette Santiago has heard all this before. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Battle for Latino Souls; Pentecostal Churches Are Using Savvy Marketing to Attract Traditionally Catholic Hispanics. A Holy Struggle in Chicago
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.