Thursday, April 14, 2005

Religion in the Real Key West

You might not think of Key West as a place where organized religion and spirituality thrive. If you did think that, you would be wrong. There are over 40 organized churches or other congregations on, or in close proximity to, the Island City.

Given a permanent population of somewhere near 26 or 27 thousand, it works out to one congregation for every 6-700 people. Assuming that there are equal numbers of churchgoers and non-churchgoers (which may or may not be correct), that leaves about 300-350 congregants available for each congregation. Of course, some of the churches, such as St. Mary Star of the Sea, the local Catholic church, claims a much higher number of parishioners than the average. I expect that St. Paul's Episcopal church, the Baptists, and the Methodists -- the mainstream churches -- also exceed the averages.

The majority of the organized churches are, as you might expect, are Christian, but there are adherents of Judaism, Bhuddism, Christian Science, Latter Day Saints (Mormons), Jehovah's Witnesses also.

Beyond the organized religions, one can find outlets for almost any form of spiritual expression through such things as yoga, spiritualism, Voodoo, Santeria, and others.

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