Languages of Prayer
During the past few decades, the demographics of Flushing have changed drastically, and continue to change to this day. Leaders at St. George’s Episcopal / Anglican Church realize the importance of accommodating different ethnic groups as they settle in Flushing, New York.
Currently, in order to adequately serve the Flushing community, services are conducted in three languages. Services have been held in English since the founding of the church, but in 1988, a Mandarin service was instituted to cater to the religious needs of the growing Chinese community. In 1993, a Spanish language service was added to accommodate the growing Hispanic community. One of the main tenants of Anglicanism is that people should worship in the language they most comfortably speak, and St. George’s Church has illustrated its dedication to this principle through the offering of multiple language services.
St. George’s Church as a Reflection of Flushing’s Demographics
Fifty-seven percent of the population within a one mile radius of St. George’s Church is classified as Asian. Twenty-five percent of that same region is classified as Hispanic. These statistics strongly mirror the distribution of St. George’s Church members across racial divides, effectively indicating St. George’s community as a microcosm of that of Flushing.
The English speaking members of St. George’s Church currently compose only twenty-three percent of the church population, making them the smallest inner-church denomination. The individuals who attend English speaking services, for the most part, are Black Caribbean. The most active members of this group are those who came to Queens and to St. George’s Church in the 1960s and 70s, and have remained ever since. The English speaking congregants of St. George’s are older in age, and at this point, their community is seeing little to no growth, instead remaining stagnant.
The Hispanic population, which comprises twenty-seven percent of St. George’s membership is the newest group to become involved in St. George’s Church and its population is significantly younger than that of the church’s English speaking contingent.
The Chinese community of St. George’s Church, with its services conducted in Mandarin, is the largest current group of membership and comprises about half of St. George’s community. While significantly larger than the Hispanic population, this group is also significantly younger than the church’s English speaking population.
Due to the correlation of language frequencies in the worshippers of St. George’s Church with that of greater Flushing, St. George’s Episcopal / Anglican Church can provide us with great insight into the Flushing community and its demographics. The changes in church membership and attendance reflect the waves of immigration this area of Queens has seen and continues to see, and through studying the diverse languages and peoples of St. George’s Church, we can better understand the individuals who make up the greater Flushing community.