Beyond the Congregation: Evangelical Conferencing and Religious Adherence among Chinese-Canadian Youth

In: Youth, Religion, and Identity in a Globalizing Context
Author: Scott Wall

Against a backdrop of waning religious adherence among Canadian youth and young adults, this chapter highlights the vibrant practices of young, Chinese-Canadian evangelicals in Canada’s largest city. It investigates an annual Christian event (Teens Conference) that attracts hundreds of raucous youth to a series of meetings and seminars over spring break. What it illustrates is how studies of religious individuals that are limited to traditional venues (e.g. temple, mosque, congregation) may fail to account for spaces that are shaping the lives of youth in significant ways. This chapter incorporates performance theory and our understanding of social movements in order to explore the importance of this local event as an expression of broader, evangelical ritual practice. The author draws on ethnographic observations and interview data from former conference attendees to demonstrate how this setting provides an environment specifically tailored to helping youth Chinese-Canadian Christians negotiate the relationship between their ethnic and religious identities.

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