Saved and Sanctified: The Rise of a Storefront Church in Great Migration Philadelphia

By Deidre Helen Crumbley | Go to book overview

1
CALL

THERE ARE MANY WAYS OF BEING HUMAN; one is being Black in America. There are many ways of being religious; one is being a Christian. There are many ways of being Christian; one is being saved, sanctified, and full of the Holy Ghost. On one level, this book explores a universal human quest for truth and meaning through faith. On another level, it relates the particular narratives of a group of women and men who established their own faith community and lived by a unique formulation of Christianity configured within the cultural crucible of the African Diaspora in the United States. Because “The Church,” as the “saints” or members refer to their faith community, was started by a woman, and women have continued to share leadership with men, this book is about gender, religion, and power. Because The Church has survived the death of its founder, this book is also about institution-building. Because The Church was founded during the Great Migration, this book is about religious innovation during periods of rapid social change and inequitable cultural contact.

This book can be read in several ways. It begins by placing this faith community in the context of African American history and lived religion. Then it relates the life histories of founding members, explores the religious beliefs and practices of The Church, and delineates its organizational structure. Readers who wish to meet the founding saints and learn of their journey from south to north of the Mason-Dixon Line may start with chapter three, “Saints Tales,” which focuses on the experiences of founding members, both in Philadelphia and in the southern towns from which they migrated. For readers interested in religious practices and beliefs and their cultural and historical roots, chapter four is the best starting point; “Becoming Saints” offers thick ethnographic description of the congregation’s rituals and symbols and situates them within the context of African diasporic religion. Those wanting to understand the social-historical background of storefront Sanctified churches should start with the second chapter, “City

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Saved and Sanctified: The Rise of a Storefront Church in Great Migration Philadelphia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • 1 - Call 1
  • 2 - City Tales 29
  • 3 - Saints Tales 49
  • 4 - Becoming Saints 107
  • 5 - Family 139
  • 6 - Response 165
  • Notes 175
  • Bibliography 187
  • Index 201
  • The History of African American Religions 212
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