Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday Morning Worship...Store Front Churches

Today, many city neighborhood streets across this country will be crowded with parishioners crowding into store front churches. Over the past 50 years, the Store Front Church has become a staple to many city neighborhoods. Historically these churches had predominately black populations, who had migrated to cities from the south looking for work and better opportunities.

This increased population a lot of times overwhelmed traditional established black churches in the city. Also some migrants 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 derided storefront preachers for their lack of theological training.

The storefront venue is also a product of economics: many poorer neighborhoods lack the funds to build a church from scratch. Some churches also rent spaces in local schools or other community buildings in which to conduct services, and their pastors, bishops and preachers often have self-proclaimed titles, not having followed the traditional routes of attending seminary or theological school.

Another factor to Store front chuches is that historically they have been located on once promenant but now depressed commercail corridors making rent for the store front church very inexpensive.

Storefront churches today are not just black and urban. 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.
Some excerpts are from the Independent Lens Series: "Let The Church Say Amen"

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