RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY IN FLUSHING, QUEENS


The United States was founded upon religious freedom. Those who wanted to escape religious persecution, sought to immigrate to this free country. The Flushing Remonstrance, signed in 1657 in what is now the New York neighborhood of Flushing, Queens, is the earliest known document in America to argue for religious freedom. During the late twentieth century, Flushing, Queens has not only flourished into a place of successful investment of merchants of Asian descent, it has also formed a diverse community with a unique kind of religious pluralism. The 2000 United States Census Bureau ranked Queens County as the ninth most populous county in the United States with over 2.2 million residents. Due to the increasing ethnic diversity in Flushing, Queens, immigrant temples and/or congregations are responding.

With the many different religious beliefs and customs that make up Flushing, Queens, immigrants from all over can identify with their own specific sect. Flushing is essential to the New York lifestyle because of the hustle and bustle of city life, yet the pure nature of culture from all different parts of the world. As you drive along the busy noisy streets of Flushing, you can right away notice the religious diversity that embodies this bourough. Korean Babtist Churches, Chinese Roman Catholic Churhes, Islamic Mosques and all of the above are the ingredients to the soup called Flushing, Queens.

flushing_map.jpg
Diverse Congregations in Flushing, Queens Grey: Christianity, Red: Buddhism, Blue: Hinduism, Green: Judaism, Orange: Taoism, Blue: Islam



bowne_cc.jpg

Bowne Street Community Church

The Protestant Dutch Reformed Church of Flushing was first organized on May 20, 1842. There were seven members, three men and four women. All seven came by transfer of letter from other churches, three being Presbyterian and four Dutch Reformed. In 1851 many withdrew their membership and joined with others in forming the first Congressional Church of Flushing. The Bowne Street Community Church merged with both the United Church of Christ and the Reformed Church in America. When these two churches merged, it changed the face of Flushing. Today the Bowne Street Community Church is a congregation that welcomes all races, from Asian, Caucasion, and Black.





Bibliography:
Huang, Weishan. "The Making of a Promised Land: Religious Responses to Gentrification and Neighborhood Ethnic Diversity." Cross Currents 58 (2008): 441-455
Fessenden, Ford. "Suburbs Gaining Asians and Hispanics." New York Times September, 16, 2007, Demographics, M2