How we pray.

Author:Elegba, Atsede
Position::Soul Sanctuary: Images of the African American Worship Experience - Book review

Soul Sanctuary: Images of the African American Worship Experience by Jason Miccolo Johnson Foreword by Gordon Parks Bulfinch Press, May 2006 $29.95, ISBN 0-821-25790-0

"To me, the sanctuary is the soul of the black church, and the soul is the sanctuary of our spiritual being. Church was and is a paradise of "visualosity"--visual curiosity for the mind's eye. And Sundays in my family meant going to church."--Jason Miccolo Johnson

Soul Sanctuary is a vivid pictorial of African American church culture featuring 170 black-and-white photographs--culled from 1,500 images--taken over a decade by award-winning photographer Jason Miccolo Johnson, who has been the official general conference photographer for African Methodist Episcopal Churches for the past 25 years. Accompanied by succinct essays about the black church--from the Introduction by Dr. Cain Hope Felder to the Epilogue by Rev. Dr. H. Beecher Hicks Jr.--the book includes Scripture, African American church history, passages from the Bible and anecdotes. There is one story that relates a congregation's spontaneous response to a grandmother's trauma and outburst of emotion.

Said to be the first photographic book of its kind, Soul Sanctuary begins early in the morning with "Preparation: This Is the Day Which the Lord Hath Made." The material is organized chronologically as a church program--a day in the life of a Sunday service. These images have such continuity, from one church to another. The book is very much like a family album; if you attend a black church, you know these people. Elder Sister Hardman--smiling cheerfully as she arrives early for service in...

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