01: Korean churches have been seen as the most dynamic of immigrant churches, as they have often eclipsed American white congregations with their large memberships and fast growth.
The recent book Korean Americans and Their Religions (Penn State Press, $19.95) edited by Ho-Youn Kwon, Kwang Chung Kim and R. Stephen Warner, gives the reader a comprehensive account of where these churches are headed, along with the less well-known Buddhist groups. In an engaging introductory chapter, Warner writes that much of what the Korean Protestant churches (Korean Catholic churches are unfortunately not included in the book) have experienced in the U.S. serve as a case study for other new immigrant ethnic groups, particularly concerning the shift from first generation to second generation membership.
The second generation has been active in creating alternative worship services and even congregations that use English and yet retain Korean ethnic ties and fellowship. Several chapters address the tension of younger Koreans attempting to retain ethnic ties while also being a part of the evangelical world that stresses outreach to all people.
A concluding chapter looks at Korean Buddhism, which has more problems keeping the second generation , though there are good numbers of “returnees” from Christian churches at some temples, as well as growing numbers of non-Korean converts.