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Church Planting resources arranged by topic
Unique people group resources and places in need of churches
I.Historical PerspectiveA. Country of Origin - PortugalB. Language(s) - The official language is Portuguese, which is derived
from Latin. Several regional accents can be distinguished on the mainland and
in the islands.C. Religious Background - Ninety-four percent of the population is
Roman Catholic, but most Portuguese consider themselves non-practicing. People
tend to be far more religious in the northern part of the country, where mass,
confession, processions, and religious holidays are participated in more
devoutly. Millions of Catholics over the world make a pilgrimage to a holy site
in Fátima, where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared, to fulfill promises
made to the Virgin.D. Southern Baptist Work - Over 30 Portuguese-speaking churches and
missions are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. New churches
are needed in all areas, especially in the Northeast and in California and
Florida. There is a renewed openness to church planting among established
church pastors.E. Subcultures - Most Portuguese are of ethnic Mediterranean stock;
there is not much ethnic diversity.
F. Past Challenges - There is a false sense of security in religious
rituals. Catholic weddings and baptisms are an important tradition. At baptism,
an infant is given a padrinho and
madrinha (godfather and godmother)
who, especially in times past, were responsible for the child were anything to
happen to its parents. Approximately one percent belong to other Christian
denominations, as well as some non-Christian religions. G. Past Immigration Patterns - During 1975, 100,000 Portuguese
immigrated to the United States from Portugal, the Azores in the
mid-Atlantic, and the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of West
Africa. By 1995, over a million had come. More than half of Portuguese-speaking
Americans settled in New England. Fall River, Massachusetts, which is 50
percent Portuguese, is the heart of New England's Portuguese-American community
of 150,000.II. Current/Future ChallengesA. Population - In Massachusetts, elementary schools of the
Portuguese-American community are bilingual, such as in New Bedford, where
60,000 Portuguese reside. Rhode Island also hosts 100,000
Portuguese-speaking citizens. Around Narrangansett Bay is a large community of
Portuguese-Americans. Most Portuguese are engaged in farming and fishing.
Others have taken jobs in industry, especially in textile
manufacturing. New York and New Jersey host another 100,000
between them. The discovery of gold attracted many Portuguese to California.
Many who sought gold, later turned to the logging and fishing industries. Some
moved to San Diego,California. A strong Portuguese ancestry
community exists there today. Farming became an important occupation,
thus many immigrants settled in San Francisco and Marin County.
They make up a large portion of Sausalito, California's population.
B. Present Immigration Patterns - Other Portuguese-speaking countries
have their own representatives in North America, such as: Brazil, Angola,
Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome, Principe, Macao, and East
Timor. C. Family Life
Education - Portuguese are generally traditional and conservative.
Most people accept change and innovation only after careful consideration, and
then quietly. They do not think that protesting or complaining is worthwhile.
People and relationships are more important than time, so being late is often
acceptable. Punctuality is becoming more important to urban
The Portuguese have an open, liberal society, but place a greater emphasis on
moral values than do those in other European nations. Hospitality, honesty,
kindness, and being a good person are highly valued qualities.2. Occupation - Many people tend to admire the achievements of
others rather than their own. Wealth and power—especially that which shows—is
respected. The Portuguese are proud of their cultural heritage (especially its
seafaring past), sense of nation, and economic progress. However, today most
people avidly discuss soccer results and teams rather than political issues.
The Portuguese are open and friendly to people of other nations. They believe
friendships should be strong and should last a lifetime.
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