Storefront church

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Greek Orthodox Church, between a restaurant and a hardware store in an ethnically mixed neighborhood in Queens, New York City
A storefront church in Auburn, Indiana, located in a building that was originally a supermarket.

A storefront church is a church housed in a storefront building. They are called storefronts because they were buildings that were once small stores that went out of business. The inside of the building was converted by putting in chairs and a makeshift pulpit. The storefront church also served as a hub for many poor African Americans to see leadership in an all black arena. Many storefronts emerged in the urban centers of the north and were filled with poor former slaves leaving the harsh memories of their former lives behind. Storefront churches were a center of social development and free speech for many poor African Americans to express their feelings about the struggles and hardships they faced every day in their lives. They also provided a focus point for community unity and engagement.

Storefronts are still very much a part of the Black church experience today; furthermore, the storefront church has also emerged within other cultures: “Storefront churches today are not just black and urban. Many have recently been established in Latino- and Asian-dominated neighborhoods, as well as poorer rural communities, typically serving similar functions as the storefront churches in historically black communities.”(http://www.pbs.org).

Storefront churches may still be found throughout the United States, among white and Latino neighborhoods as well as African American ones.

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