By Cory Doctorow at 10:42 pm Wed, Dec 19, 2007
(Image: praisetabernacle2-vi.jpg, by rudayday)
I was bike riding in Brooklyn around 1st Ave and 42nd St, near the candy factory one lonely Sunday afternoon, I noticed about 8 or 9 people gathered behind an unremarkable old van, heads bent in prayer. There was a man who was leading a sermon with a bible in hand and a little mic set up with a speaker hanging off the van’s back door. It was a pretty grim place to spread the good word, behind some huge warehouses, amidst the bashed up streets and ditched cars. But I guess thats how you build a congregation, and what comes next? A brick-face storefront!
So cool. We had a place in Ypsilanti, MI that, if I am remembering right, is a storefront church AND gospel record store AND hair salon. That’s just how some folks do church.
One person’s charming is another’s relentless creep of organized religion.
Seriously, come down south if you like that kind of stuff. Better yet, let me trade places with you.
Churches like this are everywhere.
I opened my medicine cabinet this morning and someone had started a church in there….
They missed my favorite, in Jamaica, NY–
The Phyco-Physical Temple of the Divine Mother.
Yes, phyco, no psycho.
I used to pass it on the bus 30 years ago; I wonder if it’s still there.
And the theme seems to be “the Lord is our protector, but better use lots of metal on the windows just to be sure.”
I love this. I’ve always wanted someone to document Brooklyn’s exuberant storefront churches. Next we need someone dedicated, polite, and unobtrusive to go around taping examples of their music and preaching. Some of those churches have remarkably lively services.
Matt Staggs, I wouldn’t call this organized. It’s heartfelt and semi-viral.
This is great! One of the best things about riding the bus to school along Flatbush Avenue years back was tracking the growth patterns of the storefront churches – at a peak there were blocks that had almost nothing but these joints. The names are as endlessly varied as the groups that populate them. This is a nice representation of how ridiculously diverse Brooklyn is – even within its subdivisions.
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