Transnational Pentecostal Connections: an Australian Megachurch and a Brazilian Church in Australia

Cristina Rocha Dr
  • PentecoStudies An Interdisciplinary Journal for Research on the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, September 2012, Equinox Publishing
  • DOI: 10.1558/ptcs.v12i1.62

Why do young Brazilians chose to serve at Hillsong or a Brazilian Church in Australia?

What is it about?

This article analyses the ways in which Hillsong, an Australian Pentecostal megachurch, has been alluring young Brazilians to Australia. Hillsong has also influenced CNA, a Brazilian church that caters for the increasing number of Brazilian students in Sydney. Scholars have paid little attention to how religious institutions in the host country may influence rituals and facilitate the establishment of the new church. I argue that churches created by migrants are not established in a deterritorialized diasporic vacuum. Reterritorialization engenders hybridity. Following an admiration for Australian churches due to Australia being part of the English-speaking developed world, CNA is a hybrid of a conservative Brazilian Baptist church and the very informal Hillsong church. I contend that it is precisely this hybridity that makes young Brazilians adhere to it since the church works as an effective bridge between Brazilian and Australian cultures.

Why is it important?

This paper demonstrates the polycentric nature of Pentecostalism. Australian Pentecostalism is not derivative of US Pentecostalism. The fast global growth of the mega-church Hillsong has shown that the country is a centre for the dissemination of Pentecostalism.

Perspectives

Associate Professor Cristina Rocha (Author)
Western Sydney University

This article is part of a large 4-year project on transnational Pentecostal connections between Brazil and Australia. I am interested in understanding how Pentecostal churches support Brazilian students and migrants in their integration in Australia, connect them to the homeland, but also reach out to non-Brazilians. This project will also analyse the impact of two Australian mega-churches (Hillsong and C3) on the Brazilian religious field, as a result of Australia being perceived as a ‘cool’, exciting country from where new youth-oriented forms of worship and practice emanate.

The following have contributed to this page: Associate Professor Cristina Rocha