Saved and Sanctified: The Rise of a Storefront Church in by Deidre Helen Crumbley

By Deidre Helen Crumbley

During the early 20th century, thousands of southern blacks moved north to flee the violent racism of the Jim Crow South and to discover employment in city facilities. They transplanted not just themselves but additionally their tradition; in the middle of this tumultuous demographic transition emerged a brand new social establishment, the storefront sanctified church.
     Saved and Sanctified focuses on one such Philadelphia church that was once began above a horse reliable, used to be based by way of a lady born 16 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, and remains to be energetic at the present time. “The Church,” because it is understood to its participants, deals a special viewpoint on an under-studied element of African American spiritual institutions. 
    via painstaking old and ethnographic study, Deidre Helen Crumbley illuminates the the most important position those regularly debatable church buildings performed within the non secular lifetime of the African American neighborhood in the course of and after the nice Migration. She presents a brand new point of view on ladies and their management roles, examines the unfastened or nonexistent dating those Pentecostal church buildings have with present denominations, and dispels universal prejudices approximately those that attend storefront church buildings. Skillfully interweaving own vignettes from her personal adventure as a member, besides lifestyles tales of founding individuals, Crumbley presents new insights into the significance of grassroots faith and community-based homes of worship.

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Still, women encountered conventions of patriarchy in Sanctified churches, which some women chose to negotiate and others rejected outright. Gender practices of Sanctified churches are connected to those in the larger society. According to Patricia Hill Collins’s Black feminist analysis of “intersecting dominations,” these gender practices are the product of 26 · Saved and Sanctified complex cultural legacies, historical processes, and the laws and conventions of the nation-state (Collins 1990: 229–30).

In sum, this book is about a quest for meaning and community that has spanned social space and historical time. This quest is particularized through the story of a handful of women and men of African descent who created a sustainable community of faith, even while negotiating mass migration amid a highly racialized society. To explain the rise and development of The Church, I argue in the following chapters that its religious content, gender practices, and institutional survival into the twenty-first century are informed by: (1) the institutionalization of African-derived religion selectively legitimated and reinforced by spirit-privileging American revivalism; (2) African gender legacies buttressed and expanded by racial practices of chattel slavery and post-Emancipation Jim and Jane Crow; (3) human agency exercised by the saints to determine their individual and collective lives.

Storefront Churches Storefront churches are small faith communities housed within humble structures, including rented storefronts, refurbished residential properties, and warehouses. The Church was founded in a room above a horse stable and, as membership grew, it relocated into renovated residential corner properties. Such venues have been used by the established denominations, including Baptists, Methodists, and Church of God in Christ (COGIC), to pioneer churches in the inner city, but these have tended to be temporary and used only until the congregation has stabilized (Best 2004: 305; Butler 2007: 64–70, 100; Sernett 1997: 157, 160–61; Williams 1974: 18).

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