Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Outside my window
The lovely redbrick Gothic pile across the street - I call it 'St Mary's'; it would make a perfect convent chapel - has changed hands from one devout black congregation to another. I don't know what became of the African Methodist Episcopal congregation whose church it originally was but now it's a Seventh-Day Adventist church. This congregation seem smaller and more subdued, the preaching not as loud. (I could listen to the sermon booming out of the church early Sunday afternoons just sitting on the porch.) And of course these quieter services are held Saturdays, not Sundays. The SDA Church was started in the US in the 1840s when a man called Miller predicted the end of the world in 1844; when it didn't happen, obviously, his followers amazingly didn't disperse but rather formed this sect. I understand they range in theology from nice evangelical Protestants who go to church on Saturday to weird borderline cult - don't know how that faction are cultish. Unlike the AMEs they're not an historically black church.

Fun obscure facts
• Actor Clifton Davis, who played a minister in a TV series 15 years ago and is black, is actually an SDA minister as well.
• Adventist missionaries converted the whole populations of Pitcairn and Norfolk Islands in the South Pacific, home of the descendents of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian wives, to their church. One of the treasures of the islands is in a village church on one of them: the Bounty's presumably Anglican (complete with deuterocanonical books/Apocrypha) Bible.

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