Nicole Overley

Year: 2011     

Project Description

In the context of monopolistic and competitive religious economies, and with the help of extensive traveling and interviewing throughout both the U.S. and the U.K., I hypothesize that the American megachurch is a response to modernization, tangibly symbolizing the innovation necessary for individual American churches to survive. But while the cultural upheaval of the 1960s onward spurred corresponding adaptation in the practice of American Christianity, it correlated instead with a sharp decline in Britain’s church attendance—a consequence of the stagnation legitimized by the state support of the Anglican Church there. Today, however, facing a financial and governmental crisis, the Anglican Church is attempting to reinvent itself, in ways surprisingly analogous to what we can see in megachurches across America. Despite diverging developmental trajectories, these two institutions of Christendom have reached a critical turning point that could contribute to the reversal of secularization in Britain.