African American worship celebrates God’s love, care, deliverance, and liberation.  It offers strength to survive daily struggles and courage to confront injustice.  Services include scripture readings, singing, prayer, testimonies, and affirmations of faith.  But the central focus of worship is the sermon, where the preacher proclaims the prophetic word of God, often challenging mainstream society.  Within this basic framework, African American houses of worship offer many different worship experiences and traditions.

 

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Congregation at Shiloh Baptist Church Congregation at Shiloh Baptist Church
Ca. late 1940s
Courtesy of Shiloh Baptist Church

 

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"Singing on the water before baptizing," 1928 "Singing on the Water
before the baptizing"
May 6, 1928
Courtesy of Bishop Thomas Holsey
This image shows an early Church of God in Christ baptism in the Brandywine. Elder Ford was the pastor. The denomination first came to Delaware in 1925.
 
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Service times of African American churches Service times of African American churches
WIlmington Daily Commercial
January 12, 1867
 

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Church interiors

Bethel A.M.E. Church, Wilmington Bethel A.M.E. Church, Wilmington
Ca. early 1900s
Courtesy of Bethel A.M.E. Church,
Wilmington
 
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Forrest Grove Seventh Day Adventist Church, Dinah's Corner Forrest Grove Seventh Day Adventist Church, Dinah’s Corner
Ca. late 1930s-early 1940s
Zebley Collection,
Delaware Historical Society

 
 
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Mother African Union Church, Wilmington

Mother African Union Church, Wilmington
Ca. late 1950s
Courtesy of
Mother African Union Church

 

 
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Simpson United Methodist Church, Newport, 1936-1975

Simpson United Methodist Church, Newport, 2007

Simpson United Methodist Church, Newport
1936-1975, 2007
Courtesy of
Simpson United Methodist Church

 
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St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, Wilmington

St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church,
Wilmington
Ca. late 1930s-early 1940s
Zebley Collection,
Delaware Historical Society

 

 
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St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, Wilmington

Saints Andrew and Matthew, 1993

St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church,
Wilmington
706 French Street
Top left: Ca. late 1930s-early 1940s
Zebley Collection,
Delaware Historical Society

Bottom left:
700 Walnut Street
March, 1993
Courtesy of the Episcopal Church of
Saints Andrew and Matthew

 

 
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Ezion Methodist Episcopal Church, Wilmington

Ezion Methodist Episcopal Church

Ezion Methodist Episcopal Church,
Wilmington
Ca. early 1900s, 1945
Courtesy of Ezion-Mount Carmel
United Methodist Church
 
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Eighth Street Baptist Church, Wilmington

 

Eighth Street Baptist Church, Wilmington
Ca. late 1970s
Courtesy of The Resurrection Center

 

 

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The Delaware Historical Society is the statewide, non-profit organization that explores, preserves, shares, and promotes Delaware history, heritage, and culture to strengthen our community.