Racial tensions and a cultural chasm.

Last summer, as British society prepared for the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, ugly race riots erupted, first in London, then Liverpool, and then Manchester. Riot gear was hastily issued to police, and for the first time in Britain, gas cannisters were fired to disperse the mobs.

Though not widely known, racial discrimination is a serious problem in Britain, the home for some 2 million West Indian blacks and 1 million mainly Asian Muslims. Coming from commonwealth countries, they entered under special immigration laws. Their birthright includes a British passport.

Britain’s restless ghettos have been fertile ground for the gospel. Since the 1960s, some 250 West Indian black churches have sprung up. Most of these churches trace their roots to the Caribbean islands and, beyond them, to historic connections with American denominations. The largest West Indian denomination is the New Testament Church of God (NTCG), an affiliate of the charismatic Church of God, based in Cleveland, Tennessee. The New Testament Church of God has 91 congregations in Britain, with some 20,000 people attending regularly. Another large denomination is the Church of God of Prophecy, with 100 congregations. The Seventh-day Adventist churches in Britain are mainly West Indian.

Whatever their stripe, the West Indian churches in Britain are growing fast among the economically burdened minorities. There are several reasons for this.

Blacks feel frozen out of British churches, with their traditional formality. Only after blacks assimilate the British culture do they feel at home in British churches, but this creates gaps between them and their West Indian relatives.

West Indian churches are flexibly organized. ...

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