What immediately attracted me to the Salvation and Deliverance Church was the name of the church. In class this week, Professor Hendricks spoke about his first hand experience with a deliverance service in Africa thus I thought it’d be interesting to learn more about this Salvation and Deliverance Church here in Harlem. Interestingly, this church is non-denomination, interracial, intercultural, and described as ‘The Church Built By The Young People.’ This church is a part of the Salvation and Deliverance Worldwide Ministry, which was established by apostle Williams Brown in Harlem in 1975. There are other Salvation and Deliverance Churches affiliated with this ministry in Long Island, Georgia, North Carolina, and many other places. According to the churches website, they have been involved with feeding the poor, building schools and homes for the orphanages, digging pure water wells, opening medical clinics and churches throughout Africa, India, Haiti, Jamaica, Argentina, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, and the United States. This church like many of the other Black churches we have spoken about this semester takes on many roles in the surrounding communities. The church’s website mentioned that this is a church built by the young people. Through being a church built by young people, I’d imagine that this church has a goal of targeting young church members and one way to do this is through language. The church’s van has the following words decorated on it: “Miracle Mountain. A Christian Resort.” I found this comparison of a church to a resort quite unique and eye catching, especially to many people of younger generations. Often people compare the church to a refuge, describing it as a place where members are sheltered and protected from the evils and struggles of the outside world. A resort on the other hand is not necessarily a place where people go for help, however it is a place where people go to relax and for recreational purposes. Although there may have been other reasons for using the word resort over refuge or any other word, as a young adult, the phrase Christian Resort is much more attractive than Christian Refuge. For me personally using the word resort changes the image of the Black church being a place were people go when they are lost and desperate for help and instead helps me to envision the Black church as a place where people go because they want to because it’s a fun and enjoyable.
Although the Salvation and Deliverance Church in Harlem is also the headquarters of the entire ministry, this specific church did not have a website. However after speaking with a representative from the church on the phone I was able to learn more about their Prayer and Tarry Services and the Deliverance services. According to this person, at the Prayer and Tarry Services, “you tarry for the Holy Spirit, you get filled with god’s holy sprit, and say prayers for those in need.” At the Friday and Sunday night deliverance services, “someone preaches, and if there is a person who has the demon in him or her they need to be delivered, it depends on who goes to the service.” Considering the fact that this church did not label itself as an African church, the presence of these deliverance services that were common in African churches gives a great example of how some churches today still follow certain practices and traditions found in traditional African churches despite their lack of a relationship to any specific African denominations. It is interesting to note the parallels that are seen between nondenominational churches and traditional African churches in Harlem today.
Below is a video clip from Youtube of a Deliverance Service at Salvation and Deliverance Church in Harlem by apostle Williams Brown.
Please note that all pictures from above with the exception of the first one were taken by me. Click here for source of the first picture.