Does Anyone Have a Non-Catholic Inner City Church Experience?

I am curious if anyone has experience with, belongs to now or in the past to what I would call a inner city, non-Catholic Church, commonly made up of African-American’s, but not always? In a nearby community, names in the church titles vary quite a bit and are much different than church titles in Catholicism, Orthodoxy or Lutheranism. Surprisingly only a few titles mention even Jesus and virtually none mentioning Mary or the Saints. Interesting.

Names Found In Inner City Church Titles

  • “Abundant Life”
  • “Brotherhood”
  • “Community”
  • “Covenant”
  • “Fellowship”
  • “Full Gospel”
  • “Tabernacle”
  • “Greater Faith”
  • “Holy Temple”
  • “New Mission”
  • “New Paradise”
  • “Peace”
  • “Power”
  • “Refreshing”
  • “Spiritual”
  • “Word of Truth”

Some of the Churches above are Pentecostal, some Baptist, some I have no idea. I’m curious as to the general faith experience of these inner- city Churches, what is being preached from the pulpit and how common is some type of out-reach or shared fellowship with these Churches?

PnP

I am a member of an inner-city Lutheran Church and volunteer at an inner-city Catholic Church. Memphis is the home base for the Church of God in Christ denomination, a Pentecostal Holiness group. Many of our neighboring churches are affiliated with this denomination. I have worked with some of their members on projects. I am not at all familiar with their doctrines, but they are a distinctive group in that the women all wear hats in church, and elaborate ones at that! Our ladies look more like plain little sparrows :slight_smile:

[quote=Porknpie] I am curious if anyone has experience with, belongs to now or in the past to what I would call a inner city, non-Catholic Church, commonly made up of African-American’s, but not always? In a nearby community, names in the church titles vary quite a bit and are much different than church titles in Catholicism, Orthodoxy or Lutheranism. Surprisingly only a few titles mention even Jesus and virtually none mentioning Mary or the Saints. Interesting.

PnP
[/quote]

With a church on every corner there are only so many theme names to distiguish yourself from the brother church next door.

Posted from Catholic.com App for Android

I am happy to be a member of a parish… St. Bonaventure Catholic Community… :D:D:D I even saw in one town a methodist and baptist church side by side…none also mentioned Jesus, Mary or Saints on their names…

One of our secretaries is very active with her inner city Lutheran church, but its name is fairly bland: Christ Lutheran.

My all-time favorite name is from a church on Broad St. in inner-city Philly:
“The First Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.”

Which should probably be called “Catholic church,” if you think about it. :smiley:

Now that I think about it, I’ve seen names like those on your list more frequently in rural (white) areas. Like Abundant Life Fellowship, and Sonshine.

And you’re surprised by that? You acknowledged that many of these churches are Pentecostal and Baptist (which I would think its well known that they are about as far away from the “Catholic” view on saints or Mary), and yet you’re surprised they don’t name their churches after them?

However, on the flip side, sometimes they are named things like “Thomas Memorial Baptist Church.”

And, it is possible for such churches to be named after saints, though extremely rare. For example, I pass by a small Pentecostal church often with the name “St. Mary Pentecostal Church.” Now that’s a very odd name for a Pentecostal church. :shrug:

There is fellowship. Most of these churches are essentially evangelical in doctrine, and plus, they share many of the traditions of the “Black Church.” They are also centers of urban life.

This will be overly simplified but, in general, I think the Baptist churches tend to follow more in the tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr. when it comes to social engagement. Pentecostal churches tend to lean toward prosperity gospel themes; however, this should not suggest that Pentecostals don’t contribute to the health and betterment of their communities. The Church of God in Christ (Pentecostal) and other similar inner city churches have become important pillars for urban life.

Before attending Catholic Mass, I used to go to “[Street name] Christian Center” which was affiliated with the Assembly of God. Always thought it was unusual to be called “Christian Center” and not “church”.

Yeah, lots are called “___ Worship Center” or “____Family Worship Center.” My church used to be called “Victory Christian Center” through the 1980s and 1990s. Then in the 2000s we changed it to “Victory World Outreach Center,” because I think a lot of churches were adding the word “World” to their names.

I sort of see the use of terms like “center” as analogous to the use of “meeting house,” which was often heard years ago. It refers to the physical place, but avoids confusing the “church,” which is a living organism, with a building.

[quote=EIF5A] Before attending Catholic Mass, I used to go to “[Street name] Christian Center” which was affiliated with the Assembly of God. Always thought it was unusual to be called “Christian Center” and not “church”.
[/quote]

I remember the elder who taught the denomination’s history to new members mentioning that our theme name “X” Christian Center was an oddity in the Foursquare fellowship as Christian Centers were normally affliated with another fellowship, I can’t remember which one at the moment.

Posted from Catholic.com App for Android

The “Assemblies of God” dominate Pentecostal churches in Australia, and are the effective “head group” of Pentecostalism in Australia. Not sure how it compares to their American counterpart, but It’s almost like a monopoly here.

This is due to the head church being the “Hillsong Church”, which was formally known as “The Hills Christian Life Centre”. This is the biggest single Church in Australia, and has a regular attendance figure of 20,000 young people at their main Church “campus”. Any Pentecostal church not directly affiliated is most likely to be affiliates of the “Church of Christ”, but will make use of the Hillsong music group’s materials.

They are of cause, Churches that preach the Prosperity gospel.

Hillsong’s Music is allowed to be used in the local Catholic Church, but this is usually only for the Charismatic Renewal parishes.

The world headquarters of the Assemblies of God is near where I live. There are lots of them. But the Southern Baptists almost certainly outnumber them even so. I do realize not all Southern Baptists are truly pentecostal, though some are. Pentecostalism was big in this area before anybody ever heard of the Assemblies of God.

Around here anyway, it’s no monopoly. In fact, lots of people join and lots of people leave. There are a lot of non-denominational offshoots from it.

Yep, I grew up in rural Alabama and there were several churches with names similar to the OP.

I said some of the churches are Baptist, some Pentacostal, others I have no idea. I should have said most of them I have no idea given their names. Point being, for the far majority of them, I can’t tell what their background is by their name. So this results in my knowing very little about them given their name alone.

And, it is possible for such churches to be named after saints, though extremely rare. For example, I pass by a small Pentecostal church often with the name “St. Mary Pentecostal Church.” Now that’s a very odd name for a Pentecostal church. :shrug:

Nice.

PnP

It’s the largest white Pentecostal denomination (even though 40% of its membership is minority) with 3 million members. However, the Church of God in Christ (predominantly African-American) is larger with 5 million members. Those are the biggest denominations but there are lots of them. You have a lot of denominations to choose from and even more unaffiliated Pentecostal churches.

One of the biggest differences between the AG in the US and the Australian fellowship is that there is no one single mega-church that sets the tone for the overall movement. From what I gather, the Australian AG is for the most part an advocate of the prosperity gospel.

In the US, it’s different. The denominational “hierarchy” of the American is really opposed to the prosperity gospel. Of course, there are AG churches in the US that do follow the “Hillsong model” for sure, but there is a lot more suspicion and dislike of it. The Assemblies of God in the USA has been embarrassed by too many televangelist and prosperity preachers in the past (like the Bakers).

The American AG is strongest in the suburbs.

It has been said the Assemblies Of God and the Church of God In Christ exist as a separate fellowships originally is because of American racism in the years following the Azusa Street revivals and the heavy presence of black preachers in the movement. If Black people were present folk used to segregation or unwilling to sit with others split off under like minded elders. So today in heavily African American neighborhoods , at least in Los Angeles, you will rarely see an English language Assemblies of God church. Most Pentecostal or charismatic churches would be COGIC, followed by non denominational or Foursquare then the other fellowships.

The theme name alone would have been chosen by the local congregation either at the founding, the opening of that specific building or perhaps to re-brand after a bad split. most churches belonging to a denomination will also have a unique denomination identifier if you know what to look for.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.