Feeling the Spirit: Faith and Hope in an Evangelical Black Storefront Church

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Amidst a game room, transient hotel, car wash, tire repair shop, and unpaved parking lot, members of First Corinthians Missionary Baptist Church worship in a rickety structure abandoned during Chicago's race riots of the 1960s. Frances Kostarelos, an anthropologist granted unique access to the life and organization of this congregation, ushers readers into its services, seminars, committee meetings, and prayer meetings and into the homes of the individuals who worship there. Her vivid participant-observer ...
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Overview

Amidst a game room, transient hotel, car wash, tire repair shop, and unpaved parking lot, members of First Corinthians Missionary Baptist Church worship in a rickety structure abandoned during Chicago's race riots of the 1960s. Frances Kostarelos, an anthropologist granted unique access to the life and organization of this congregation, ushers readers into its services, seminars, committee meetings, and prayer meetings and into the homes of the individuals who worship there. Her vivid participant-observer portrait sheds light on a remarkably little understood social formation that shapes the lives of millions of inner-city African Americans - the evangelical storefront church. Drawing on years of ethnographic research, Kostarelos illumines the nature, role, and function of religion in this congregation and in the African-American community at large. She analyzes the precepts that unite the church, the life histories of its leading members, and the organizational structure of the ministry. Her study reveals a staggering range of official roles filled by parishioners, enormous blocks of time devoted to church activities, and a set of narratives and practices that effectively challenge degrading stereotypical images of working-class and poor African Americans. Kostarelos squarely contradicts social critics who characterize the storefront church as a capitulation to white economic power structures or as an otherworldly escape from the ghetto. Rather, she portrays the institution as the legacy of a 300-year struggle against oppression and as the embodiment of solidarity among working-class and poverty-stricken African Americans.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570030512
  • Publisher: University of South Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1995
  • Series: Studies in Comparative Religion Series
  • Pages: 156
  • Product dimensions: 6.22 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
General Editor's Preface
Preface
Introduction 1
Ch. 1 The Historical and Social Context 7
Ch. 2 The Setting 13
Ch. 3 The Founding of First Corinthians Missionary Baptist Church 19
Ch. 4 Church Cosmology and Organization 35
Ch. 5 Church Activities 70
Ch. 6 Evangelical Religion and Working-Class Black Family Solidarity 108
Conclusion: Black Religious Consciousness and Resistance 122
Afterword 128
References 132
Index 139
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