by MICHAEL LIPKA, 12/11/14, Pew Research.
Nearly a half century after Martin Luther King Jr. called 11 a.m. on Sunday morning the most segregated hour in America, two Florida churches with different racial compositions – one with a predominantly black congregation, the other predominantly white – are set to merge.
The move occurs amid a larger, but slow-moving, national trend. While the degree of racial segregation within religious congregations remains high, some houses of worship in the U.S. have become more diverse in recent years, according to findings from the most recent (2012) National Congregations Study (NCS), directed by Duke University researcher Mark Chaves. (The most recent study received financial support from the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project.)
Indeed, while about eight-in-ten American congregants still attend services at a place where a single racial or ethnic group comprises at least 80% of the congregation, one-in-five now worship in congregations where no single racial or ethnic group predominates in such a way. This figure has risen in recent years, from 15% in the 1998 NCS and 17% in the 2006-07 NCS…