Transnational Pentecostal Connections

an Australian Megachurch and a Brazilian Church in Australia


  • Cristina Rocha University of Western Sydney



Pentecostalism, Brazil, Australia, Hillsong, hybridity, transnationalism


The paper analyses transnational flows of Pentecostalism between Australia and Brazil. It analyses the establishment of CNA, a Brazilian church that caters for the increasing number of Brazilian students in Sydney. It also investigates the ways in which Hillsong, an Australian Pentecostal megachurch, has influenced CNA and has been alluring young Pentecostal Brazilians to Australia. Scholars have paid little attention to how religious institutions in the host country may influence rituals and facilitate the establishment of the new church. I argue that churches created by migrants are not established in a deterritorialized diasporic vacuum. Reterritorialization engenders hybridity. Following an admiration for Australian churches due to Australia being part of the English-speaking developed world, CNA is a hybrid of a conservative Brazilian Baptist church and the very informal Hillsong church. I contend that it is precisely this hybridity that makes young Brazilians adhere to it since the church works as an effective bridge between Brazilian and Australian cultures. Furthermore, this paper demonstrates the polycentric nature of Pentecostalism, as Australia is becoming a centre for the dissemination of Hillsong-style Pentecostalism in Brazil.

Author Biography

Cristina Rocha, University of Western Sydney

Cristina Rocha is a research fellow at Institute for Culture and Society and a senior lecturer at the School of Humanities and Communication, Arts, University of Western Sydney, Australia. She is the editor of the Journal of Global Buddhism. She was a visiting researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Religious and Ethnic Diversity (2011). Her publications include: Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change (with M. Barker, Routledge, 2010); Zen in Brazil: The Quest for Cosmopolitan Modernity (Hawaii UP, 2006).


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How to Cite

Rocha, C. (2013). Transnational Pentecostal Connections: an Australian Megachurch and a Brazilian Church in Australia. PentecoStudies, 12(1), 62–82.