In little over a decade, Saint Paul Community Baptist church has transformed one of New York City's most depressed areas into one that is vital, committed, and thriving. Under the leadership of its dynamic and controversial pastor, Reverend Johnny Ray Youngblood, Saint Paul has successfully shouldered the responsibilities for not only its members' spiritual well-being but also their daily lives. It has built affordable housing, created a school, replaced brothels and numbers joints with family stores. It has rescued even those who have traditionally eluded the black church, from drug abusers to the neighborhood youth and men. Samuel Freedman chronicles a year in the life of Saint Paul, a year of risks and rewards for the entire congregation. The story of this inner-city church offers a message of hope for the present and future.
Anthony Pinn's engrossing survey highlights the rich diversity of black religious life in America, revealing manifestations of an ever-changing black religious quest in four non-Christian indigenous movements.Based on extensive interviews, travel, and research -- embellished with ample photos, bibliographies, and case studies -- Pinn provides an insider look at Voodoo, Orisha devotion, Santeria, the Nation of Islam, and Black Humanism in the U.S. Focusing less on institutional and doctrinal history and more on the varied popular religious practices and sites, his volume highlights the influence of Caribbean religions in the U.S., practices of divination and healing, the surge of black Muslim religion, the emergence of black humanism, religious influences on the ethical practices of black women, and the import of previously overlooked religious settings (e.g., church women's clubs, local politics, Pentecostal religion, private religious practices).The emergent picture, more subtle, varied, and vibrant than traditional black Christian marks a new era in African American religious studies.