Witness: Two Hundred Years of African-American Faith and Practice at the Abyssinian Baptist Church of Harlem, New York

Witness: Two Hundred Years of African-American Faith and Practice at the Abyssinian Baptist Church of Harlem, New York

Witness: Two Hundred Years of African-American Faith and Practice at the Abyssinian Baptist Church of Harlem, New York

Witness: Two Hundred Years of African-American Faith and Practice at the Abyssinian Baptist Church of Harlem, New York

Synopsis

This detailed history of the famous Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York City, begins with its organization in 1809 and continues through its relocations, its famous senior pastors, and its many crises and triumphs, up to the present. Considered the largest Protestant congregation in the United States during the pre-megachurch 1930s, this church plays a very important part in the history of New York City.

Excerpt

Come see and hear men and women, the young and the old, who are founders, builders, teachers, preachers, visionaries, servant-leaders, and faithful followers bearing witness to the meaning of God’s presence and Jesus’ teachings in their lives. African-American Baptists, few in number when Thomas Jefferson was president, boldly declared “Ethiopia shall stretch forth” and founded a growing fellowship called Abyssinian Baptist Church. Two hundred years later they had not only sustained a fiercely independent black Baptist church but become a world-famous Harlem institution.

Witness tells the stories of a determined people doing extraordinary things by faith. For the cause of God in Christ, despite human imperfection, the Abyssinian Baptist Church of Harlem, New York, has become a people and a place to find deliverance, direction, protection, refuge, healing, hope, help, pride in heritage, encouragement, love, worship, prayer, and praise, while seeking an intimate relationship with God, strategizing for liberation, and advancing the work of human and societal transformation. in a society where expressions of the American spirit and the African-American spirit can be at various times on a collision course and conjoined, this history of the faith and practice of Abyssinians in New York is remarkable and revelatory.

This book chronicles in lively detail how Abyssinians addressed the perplexities of life in the United States of America from 1808 to 2008. From the days of slavery to the election of Barack Obama, from the War on Poverty to the war on the poor, this history of Abyssinian focuses on one church’s efforts to do what members believed God required of them. Faithful followers, extraordinary lay-leaders, and strong, visionary pastors — among them Sampson White; Adam Clayton Powell, Sr.; Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.; Samuel DeWitt Proctor; and Calvin O. Butts iii — declared that although problems . . .

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