Monday, March 16, 2009

Plethora of Places to Pray

Boston seems to have a higher concentration of particularistic churches than elsewhere. These are houses of worship that are either unique or belong to a small denomination.

Many here are in storefronts and often are imported remnants by immigrants. For example, a settlement from a West Indies island might bring a pastor with their specific religion who preaches in their first language. There will then be enough tithers to support a wee church.
Background Book: A comprehensive study of such churches in the Four Corners area of Roxbury is Omar M. McRoberts' Streets of Glory: Church and Community in a Black Urban Neighborhood, from the University of Chicago Press. He also judges that these churches end up conflicting with redevelopment and social services efforts.
I walked around Mattapan and Jamaica Plain to return with some shots of the fronts of churches on Blue Hill Avenue and Washington Street below Egleston Square. I have not visited them nor arrived during services to photograph parishioners. That seems intrusive, but I may get over that.

Meanwhile, I'll post a few shots from time to time.

These churches seek affordable spaces. That can be a storefront or unused building. Some seem parodies of the grand, steepled, wooden structures on town commons in New England. Others are colorful and cheerful on their own.

Today's may have fallen fallow while I got around to posting it. The Apostolic Church at 1290 Blue Hill Avenue had an active website, but it is parked at the moment. Its registration runs through December 18th though. I'll keep tabs and try to get by at the service hours listed to satisfy my curiosity.

The site was www.tacboston.org. Yet that did not work for me, while www.tacboston.com did. Both are inactive now. The registrant for the former was and is Pastor Michael Jolaosho.

Off the latter site, the TAC unedited tenets included:
  • The unity of Godhead and the Trinity of the persons therein.
  • The utter depravity of human nature, the necessity for Redemption, and the
    Eternal Doom of the finally impenitent.
  • The Virgin Birth, Sinless Life, Atoning Death, Triumphant Resurrection,
    Ascension and Abiding Intersection of our Lord Jesus Christ, His Second
    Coming and Millennial Reign on Earth.
  • Justification and Sanctification of the Believer through the finished works
    of Christ.
  • The Baptism of the Holy Ghost for believers, with signs following.
  • The Nine Gifts of the Holy Ghost for the edification, exhortation and comfort of the church, which is the Body of Christ.
  • The Sacraments of Baptism by immersion and of the Lord's Supper.
  • The divine Inspiration and Authority of the Holy Scriptures.
  • Church Government by Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers,
    Elders, Deacons and Deaconesses.
  • The possibility of falling from Grace.
  • The obligatory nature of Tithe and Offerings.
  • Devine Healing through Obedience to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ and Faith in His Name and merit of His Blood for all sickness, diseases and infirmities.

What, you want more? How about the rules of conduct:

  • Never come to the House of God without praying before coming [Matt 6;6, Eph 6;18]
  • Be in your seat at the commencement of the service, you will be a good example to those who are late and neglectful
  • [Gen 22;3, Psalm 108;2, Proverbs 8;17, Songs of Solomon 7;12]
  • Bring your children with you to the House of God. Relatives and servants also have souls. It is your duty and privilege to take care of them. [Matt 19;14, Exodus 20;10, Acts 10;24, John 1;41-45, Gen 18;19]
  • Make your Pastor your personal friend. His sympathy, support and counsel are needed by you. Constantly pray for him. [1 Thessalonians 2;7, Joel 2;17, Matt 2;7, Rom 15;30, 11 Corinthians 1;11, Eph 6;19, Heb 13;17]
  • Make the church your spiritual home [Acts 2;46-47]
  • When conversing on the hearths, never speak disrespectfully or criticizing of God's servants or their ministrations in the presence of your children. If you sow the wind, you may expect to reap the whirlwind [Gal 6;7, Proverbs 22;8, Hosea 8;7]
  • Enter reverently; pray feverently, listen attentively; give praise from a grateful heart and worship God in the Beauty of holiness [Ps 118;27-29, Eccl 5;1, Rom 12;11, James 1;19] "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise, be thankful unto Him and bless His name'-Ps 100;4
For UUs, who hesitate to sing "wretch like me" in Amazing Grace (generally substituting "soul like me"), tenet two is a bit much — The utter depravity of human nature, the necessity for Redemption, and the Eternal Doom of the finally impenitent.

While raised as a Christian (Methodist) and with most of my adult life as a UU, I don't see my past or present religion, I don't see my religion past or present in the admonitions and exhortations of TAC.

Clearly, that was not my church. However, it is or at least was a place of community and worship for others.

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