Damon Bethea

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2004


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Graduate Center for Social and Public Policy


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Moni Mcintyre

Committee Member

Sharon Erickson Nepstad


Churches and Community Development, Churches and Social Services, Faith-Based Organizations and Community Partnershi, Faith-Based Organizations and Social Services, Faith-Based Organizing, Faith-Based Organizing and Inner City Communities


The East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh has a fascinating blend of African American churches and racially integrated churches -- all within this African American neighborhood in Pittsburgh's East End. In this research project, I will explore how several East Liberty churches are working with other churches (or faith-based organizations [FBOs]) and organizations within the East Liberty neighborhood to provide various social services to those within this predominantly African American community. The research questions for this project are: 1) How does the racial composition of the church community affect their relationship with the residents of East Liberty whom they serve? 2) How does the class composition of the congregation affect their relationship with the residents of East Liberty and the congregation's ability to serve the residents? 3) How does the theological orientation of the church shape their involvement in the community? 4) What are these churches' attitudes about working in partnership with other churches and FBOs?

The African American churches participating in this research project have an easier time than the others working within this predominantly African American community. However, the racially integrated church and the predominantly European American church gained the trust of the residents by being committed to the community and attempting to assist the community through their church services and other forms of outreach.

Aside from the racial composition of a church being a factor in its effectiveness, class and theological orientation also played a role in how effectively a church functions in its community.