Religion, Culture, and Diversity in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
Welcome to this website featuring profiles and articles about religion, culture, and diversity in St. John's, the capital city of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador! The site aims to provide a perspective on the many different religious and cultural communities in the city, to highlight diversity in our community, and to be a source of information for both new residents of the province and to those who already consider it home.
In coordination with and with funding from the provincial Department of Education and the Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism, students and faculty at Memorial University have put together profiles of different religious and cultural groups, as well as articles featuring festivals, people and practices. It is our intention to add more profiles and articles over time, so be sure to come back and check for updates! In fact, our long term goal is to expand our scope to encompass the entire province. For now, as a beginning, we have focused on the city of St. John's.
The make-up of religious traditions in St. John's and in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador has been in evolution since its early beginnings. For detailed histories of various Christian and Native groups in the province, please see this website by Dr. Hans Rollmann (Department of Religious Studies, Memorial University).
Many contemporary Religious Studies scholars have claimed that religiosity is becoming less important in the everyday lives of average Canadians. Certainly, according to Statistics Canada data, we know that Canadians on the whole are attending religious institutions less frequently than 20 years ago, with the older generation more participative than younger Canadians. Of note, Atlantic Canada is the region with the highest 'religiosity index', measured by examining affiliation, attendance, personal practices and individual importance of religion.
At the same time, the populations of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador are diversifying. With changes to our immigration policy in the late 1960s and greater appreciation for the advantages of multiculturalism, our population has become more ethnically and culturally diverse. For many new Canadians religiosity is an important part of their identities. They often bring and share new religious practices and beliefs from their former homes, and adopt practices from the religious community they discover here.
Nevertheless, as data from the 2001 Census reveals, Newfoundland and Labrador has remained overwhelmingly Protestant and Catholic in make-up (in this, our province differs from the remainder of Canada, where Catholics are the largest religious tradition). The fasting growing group is those who have "no religion." The Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and Sikh communities combined comprised less than 0.03% of the population of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2001. But these numbers do not tell the whole story, and we hope that this website will provide local religious and cultural organizations the opportunity to tell their experiences of success, struggle, adaptation, and contribution to life in this province.
2001 Religious Population in Newfoundland and Labrador
For more detailed information, this graph breaks down the religious traditions in the province by age groupings. See you back here soon!