Immigrants’ Church Participation and Community Integration: The Mediating Role of the Local Storytelling Network
This article investigates the implications of church participation for immigrants’ commitment to the broader community. Utilizing communication infrastructure theory (CIT), this study introduces a communication lens for exploring the civic potential of immigrant churches in diverse urban communities. Supplementing CIT with social capital concepts of bonding and bridging, and observations made in the civic engagement literature on spill-over effects, this study examines how immigrant church participation shapes neighborhood belonging and integration into the local storytelling network. Self-administered surveys conducted in 2015 with members of a large Korean immigrant church in Los Angeles inform the research findings. Regression analyses indicate church-based social ties and civic participation promote members' integration into their residential communities. Furthermore, findings support a communication mediation model wherein the local storytelling network mediates the relationship between church participation and community integration.