Tag Archives: church

Environmentalism and the Black Church – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com

3 Feb

Those in the African-American church have a long history of environmental justice that goes back to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s nascent role. He was a central figure during the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers’ strike, in which working-class people were striving to improve their conditions — a precursor to some of today’s environmental struggles….

I am not aware of any national faith-based organization leading the charge around issues that face African-Americans concerning the environment. I do know that we have a local model at St. Andrew A.M.E. in Memphis. The church and the surrounding community are actively responding to the plight of local African-Americans concerning poor nutrition and environmental inequity.

via Environmentalism and the Black Church – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com.


Occupy Wall Street Protesters, Even in Churches, Can’t Escape Watch of Police – NYTimes.com

19 Nov

Several area churches have been sheltering protesters in the days since the city banned sleeping in Zuccotti Park, and church officials said they were alarmed by the idea that the police might be monitoring their conduct.

“It is disconcerting that they would actually enter the sanctuary,” said the Rev. James Karpen, known as Reverend K, senior pastor of the United Methodist Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew, on West 86th Street. “Here we had offered hospitality and safety, which is our business as a church; it just felt invasive.”

via Occupy Wall Street Protesters, Even in Churches, Can’t Escape Watch of Police – NYTimes.com.

Religion in America, Going Forward

28 Oct

What role will churches play in moving America to a more equitable and sustainable society?


The other day I made a post about a church service I’d recently attended, remarking both on the power of the pastor’s preaching, its effect on his congregation, and on his responsibility to them. It was clear to me that he was energizing them to go out a face the world in a constructive frame of mind.

A friend of mine, a man I’ve known for almost 40 years, replied by indicating that he’d been lurking on a list of Unitarian ministers that was currently discussing Black Preaching: The Recovery Of A Powerful Tool by Henry H. Mitchell. This paragraph seems to have been particularly provocative:

As has been noted, worship among Whites and Blacks was similar during the Great Awakenings. It might now be asked why audible response or dialogue disappeared from mainline Protestant patterns of worship. One guess is that the preaching material soared beyond the intellectual reach of the congregation. This occurred, perhaps, because Protestant seminaries had engaged in a contest of one-upmanship with the graduate divisions of the liberal arts colleges, creating scholars instead of professionals skilled in reaching people. With such standard conditioning in the theological schools, the preacher might well be expected to be intellectual in concerns rather than interested in the day-to-day issues of ordinary people. It follows that in such a school-conditioned, abstract atmosphere, answering back would soon be considered by the preaching scholar as impolite and disruptive. This attitude would increase the inhibitions of an audience eager to please. Modern-day experiments in the middle-class church, in which dialogue takes place during and after the sermon, seem clearly to support this hypothesis. In the planning of the talk-back after the service, great care is taken to pitch the dialogue within the intellectual reach of the laity involved. It is encouraging to speculate that the middle-class model may now be drifting away from the graduate classroom and back to the pattern once shared by Blacks and Whites in the preaching event.

My friend then went to say: Continue reading