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Heartbeat In A Pew

Updated: May 31, 2021

In the community where I spent my formative years, I'd pass many schools, liquor stores

and bars, but I'd also pass a church on just about every block. On one main thoroughfare, I’d pass a pretty large Catholic church with a stone building crowned with two huge towers . A few blocks away, a Nazarene church with historic grey brick sat behind a wrought iron fence. Then I’d pass at least two store-front churches before I arrived to mine, all within ten, short, city blocks.

Bethany Baptist Church, Brooklyn (Photographer, Gary King).

Churches abounded in Brooklyn back then. Some were simple, well-maintained unadorned

brick structures with the simplicity of just the name displayed. Quite a few were store-fronts with their names, pastors and founders painted on the glass. Others were ornately built Gothic or neo-Gothic structures with stained-glass windows, high ceilings, and choral naves much like my current place of worship. I started out as a member of a Brethren Church; now I attend a Baptist church where Mother’s Day never goes unnoticed.


An artist's rendering of humanity reaching out to divinity ( Bethany Baptist Church).

The building where I worshiped as a child was just that, a building. Windows, pews, a clock on

the back wall. A verse posted in a picture frame adorned two or three walls. In the front center

was a walnut table that opened into a podium. Every Sunday on that table were two sacred

items: a loaf of bread on