Accepted paper:

Religion as home: Faith communities and Brazilian migrants in Bristol

Authors:

Maria Calderon Muñoz

Paper short abstract:

I look at Pentecostal churches that cater for Brazilians in Bristol. My findings suggest that these churches help migrants in practical ways and become a "home" for them. However, church membership hinders integration of migrants as there is no incentive to learn English or to meet non Brazilians.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper I argue that religion plays an important part in the process of migrating and settling in a new country. I look at three Pentecostal Churches in Bristol, UK and analyse how church membership supports newly arrived Brazilian migrants to the city. Following Tweed (2006) I argue that the churches recreate a familiar space, a "home" for these migrants. By helping in practical ways, the community of believers becomes like a family and thus they assist each other settle in the UK. In these communities Portuguese is spoken and a collective identity, as Brazilian migrants in the UK, is reinforced. In return, members of these faith communities remain loyal to them, an important issue as the three churches compete for attention and for financial support from Brazilians in the city. However, even if church membership smooths out the transition from the country of origin to the new country it hinders the integration of immigrants to the new environment as there is not an incentive to learn the language or to meet non Brazilians.

panel P104
Religion on the move: comparative ethnographic accounts of migration and urban religiosity