Jump directly to the content

'Voices of Harlem' Black Churches Attract Crowds of European Travelers

(UPDATED) But declining membership means decreased tithes despite crowds of tourists.

Update (May 28, 2013): The New York Times reports that changing economic fortunes in Harlem are leaving many historically African American churches with fewer tithing members. Even though Sunday attendance remains steady due to tourists, tithes are down 20 percent in some churches.

––-

According to CNN, historically black churches in Harlem, New York, suddenly are attracting white European visitors for a "uniquely American" experience.

Tourists are packing pews at Harlem's black churches, attracted by the lively gospel music and inspirational atmosphere. But the attendance boom is forcing some pastors to turn away international visitors, who often come on "Gospel Tours," paid trips through Harlem's historic churches that often cost tourists more than $50.

But not all white congregants may be tourists. Michael Walron Jr., a local Harlem pastor, says the actual face of the neighborhood is changing. He cites the fact that Hispanics and whites are outpacing the number of blacks coming to live in the area.

"You can no longer assume that a white person in a black church in Harlem is a tourist," Walron said.

CT previously has discussed shifting demographics in African American churches and their neighborhoods, the influence of Black Gospel music, and Geoffrey Canada's well-known ministry in Harlem–Harlem Children's Zone.

Related Topics:None
Posted:November 21, 2012 at 7:05AM
Gleanings aggregates what others are reporting. Learn more.
Recent Posts
God and America: It's Complicated
Surveys show fewer think America is a Christian nation, but many see ‘special relationship’ with God.
Burning Black Churches Rekindle Old Fears
(UPDATED) Two cases of arson found so far. Most weeks average five.
What Mark Driscoll Told Brian Houston at Hillsong Conference
(UPDATED) Debate continues over how long pastoral restoration should take.
Struggle over Same-Sex Marriage's Religious Liberty Ramifications Begins
(UPDATED) Liberty Institute sees good news, but other Christian legal groups disagree.
Christianity Today
'Voices of Harlem' Black Churches Attract Crowds of European ...