Recession & Racial Integration

Weakened by the economy, African-American and white churches merge to survive.

A year or so ago, when gas prices were over $4 per gallon here in Chicagoland, something remarkable happened: people started driving the speed limit. Despite the threat of traffic tickets, commuters regularly speed by 20 miles per hour or more on our highways. But for that few months, people cruised at a modest and efficient 55. One of my colleagues put it this way: "What the law has been unable to do, high gas prices did overnight."

I guess there are times when the promise of saving money gives us just the boost we need to do the right thing.

More recently, the current economic hard times have given a couple of churches in Louisville, Kentucky, a good excuse to do something they might not have done otherwise. St. Paul Missionary Baptist church, a predominantly African-American church, and the mostly white Shively Heights Baptist Church have merged.

Pastor Lincoln Bingham leads the lively and growing St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church. The church's youth and senior adult ministries were ...

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