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 in the USA that is housed in a storefront building that formerly had a commercial purpose.[1][2]

Often, the interior of a building of this kind was converted to ecclesiastical use simply by putting in chairs and a makeshift pulpit. The storefront church sometimes serves as a hub for many poor African Americans to see leadership in an all black area. 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 are a center of social development and free speech in many poor African American communities to express their feelings about the struggles and hardships they faced every day in their lives. They also can provide 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. A PBS report said “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.”[citation needed]

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

The Gemini Lounge used by the DeMeo Crew of mobsters later became a storefront church.[3]


  1. ^ "Independent Lens . LET THE CHURCH SAY AMEN . Storefront Churches | PBS". PBS. Archived from the original on 2020-11-11. Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  2. ^ "Storefront Churches: Photographs by Camilo José Vergara". National Building Museum. Archived from the original on 2015-03-29. Retrieved 2015-03-03.
  3. ^ Laurence, Charles (October 20, 2002). "The hitman's son faces up to the sins of the father". Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on July 22, 2017. Retrieved March 30, 2021.

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