Organizing Through Congregations: Mediating and Moderating Roles of Spirituality
Jones, Diana L.
This dissertation highlights the role of congregations in civic participation and illuminates the role of spirituality within the process of congregation based community organizing (CBCO). Empowerment (psychological, interpersonal, and behavioral), alienation, spirituality, and sense of community are found to vary by organizational affiliation (CBCO, non CBCO church, neighborhood, school, and non-affiliation). In particular, CBCO participants evidence higher levels of psychological and interpersonal empowerment and civic participation compared to those affiliated through other organizational contexts. CBCO participants are no stronger in spirituality than non CBCO church goers, but are significantly more likely to channel their spirituality into action through the civic sphere. Importantly, the directly negative effects of a heightened cognitive understanding of power on civic participation are shown to reverse (become positive) when mediating effects of spirituality and sense of community are considered.