Friday, June 18, 2010
You can find a storefront church in mostly any city in America but mostly in Black communities. During the era of Jim Crow Black churches were a important source of social and spiritual support for many Southern blacks. Even the poorest church was an institution that was black-led and provided a much-needed space for community participation. Black churches in the South formed separate congregations and associations after the Civil War, refusing to join white-led churches, where segregated seating arrangements and patronizingly racist sermons were the norm. During the time when thousands of blacks migrated from the rural South to seek work in cities, both in the North and the South the increased churchgoing population, was more than what some city churches could handle . Some southerns felt unwelcome at the larger black churches, which had predominantly middle- and upper-class parishioners many of whom looked down on the poorer newcomers and storefront preachers for their lack of theological training. In response the newcomers soon assembled home-based and storefront churches that resembled the churches of their hometowns. Decades later, despite increased secularism, storefront and community churches have remained strong influences in black America, offering educational and financial resources in addition to religious ministry. Today, storefront churches are still around and in a lot of neighborhoods. The storefront church is also a product of economics: many poorer neighborhoods lack the funds to build a church from scratch. Many have recently been established in Latino- and Asian-dominated neighborhoods, as well as poorer rural communities, typically serving similar functions as the storefront churches in historically black communities. These new places of worship are by no means limited to Christian denominations you have mosques and temples of faith too.