Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




In this study, I will explore the racial and urban imaginary of church leaders and members seeking to create an authentic and relevant church for Chicago's unchurched, young-adult urbanite. In their quest to develop a relevant church, the varied imaginations of the city of Chicago by leaders, volunteers and members come to the forefront. How these imaginations are fostered, incorporated, rebelled against or dismissed brings to light the politics of imagining the imagined city. This paper will discuss these varied, dueling, and sometimes contradictory imaginations informing the construction, operation, and branding campaigns of Urban Church. Particular focus will be paid to the racialization of urban space, White middle class consumption patterns, replication of the urban nightlife scene and racially based authenticization schemes. Each of these components plays an essential role in the development and creation of this urban-based congregation.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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