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  354: United House of Prayer for All People on the Rock of the Apostolic Faith, Roxbury, Boston, Massachusetts

Read this report | Other comments

24 May 2008

I am a year late, but I would like to comment on the United House of Prayer post. I hope my post will be included, because I recently had the opportunity to witness the election of the fourth Sweet Daddy – Sweet Daddy Bailey in Washington DC,áand would like to offer my thoughts as an objective third party. I am not a member of the House of Prayer.

The Ship of Fools account struck me as racist and inconsistent with what Iárecently witnessed at the House of Prayer.áI am not a Christian, but I have studied and witnessed many different religions and denominational worship services in America.

I was an obvious outsider at the House of Prayer (read: white), but I was repeatedly greeted with warmth by church staffers and parishioners. Inside I saw numerous examples of fellowship, warmth and graciousness between congregants.

None of what I saw seemed out of step or unusual compared toáother denominations'áworship services in historicallyáAfrican American churches. I've witnessed similarástyles at white Baptist, Evangelical and Pentecostaláservices. Speaking in tongues, raising hands, dancing, uplifting music and ecstatic preaching are common in many denominations.

The style and lack of printed liturgy is a direct relation to the history ofáAfrican-American spiritual practices that developed during slavery – when it was a crime to teach blacks to read or write. Repressive Jim Crow laws kept black illiteracy rates high, but black churches flourished and tried to uplift parishioners with joyful singing and dancing. Printed liturgy was superfluous at the birth of the black church, so it's not surprising that black churches forgo printed books and rely on call-and-response singing and preaching.

While the style ofátaking the "collection" is different thanásome churches,áit's fundamentally the same practice as the silent ushers in Catholic and Protestant churches marching up the aisles wielding wickerábaskets.áEmbezzlement is just as common at churches where the money is collected silently and discretely.

The idea that a spiritual leaderáof a church isácelebratedáis common in the Mormon and Catholic churches; it is not unique to the House of Prayer.

I saw joy and hope where the Mystery Worshipper saw strange and incomprehensiveness. I saw love and the Mystery Worshiper saw indifference.áWhen I left the church with my colleagues, a huge crowd of church members waiting outside to learn the results of the election greeted us with a warm and hearty cheer and many "thank yous" and handshakes.

I was afraid the parishioners, nearly all of whom were African American, would view us (all white) with suspicionáand distrust us to ensure the accurate result of such a meaningful election. Instead I felt welcome and accepted. The United House of Prayer accepted me for who I was – a white, buttoned-down WASP, without denigrating our differences.

I'm confident that I would receive the same reception at any United House of Prayer service. The United House of Prayer is dedicated to spreading true Christian love. A trombone band and speaking in tongues does not define nor degrade that mission.


Megan E. Garth

2 September 2007

Just read the article about the United House of Prayer. As a former member, kudos to you for the somewhat exposé. You have not seen the half of what a "ship of fools" this so called church is. As a child I was forced to go there and believe that crap they serve, and as an adult I have lost my family to this cult. About time I see someone else speak out. These people are crazy and some are downright dangerous.


8 June 2007

I am a member of the United House of Prayer for All People. I am 32 years old and all of my life as a member of the faith I have never heard anyone talk about the House of Prayer in this way. Whoever this Mystery Man was, he should have made himself known – there are so many people there, that no one would have known who he was. If you really want to know what the House of Prayer is like, come on a Tuesday or Sunday morning, when the house is not that packed and you can get the full scope of things.

If you really want to know about the House of Prayer, talk to someone that is a member and they will answer any question that you may have. Just to give you a brief overview, we do believe in God and Jesus, we do have the Holy Ghost. If you are a Bible based believer, than you know what I am talking about.

So, Mr Mystery Man, my name is Sis. Sean Brister, and if you really want to know, come see us again and look for me.


Sis. Sean Brister
Faithful House of Prayer member

15 April 2007

I too am a member of the United House of Prayer. I also disagree with the report and am highly upset about it. I may be younger than the other person that commented on this report, but I know enough about the House of Prayer to assure you that there must have been a misunderstanding.

I believe that it is unfair to judge a place that you are completely unfamiliar with. Did you ever think to visit the House of Prayer again? Well, if not, I highly recommend you do so because I for one do not believe that you can make judgments on a place that you know nothing about. Never judge a book by its cover.

If you are unaware of what that means, it means that you shouldn't judge anything or anyone if you do not know them. I forgive you for making this mistake. I too recommend you visit another time when the bishop is not in town.

Jasmine Scott

5 March 2007

I am from the United House of Prayer for All People and I was very offended by the report given by the Mystery Worshipper. Is he familiar with black churches? Surely not, otherwise he would not have found our practices unusual. His language seemed more like he was poking fun at a church based on devil worship instead of a wonderful place where the Spirit of the Lord is celebrated with music, singing and praise.

Maybe he should view our Bishop the same way the Catholics view the Pope. Do they donate money to him? Yes! Do they praise his name and fall on their knees in his presence? Yes! Do they believe the Holy Spirit enters the building with the Pope? Yes! Now, does the Mystery Worshipper also disagree with Catholicism? There are so many parallels that I am angered that you spent an entire service looking for the differences. Let's call our service "Catholicism with soul".

Please feel free to return and ask questions during a regular service when the Bishop is not here. It often takes a few trips to understand what's going on. Also, the crowd will be much smaller and the members will actually notice you there. When our Bishop is in town, congregations from all over the US come by the bus load and sometimes it's hard to distinguish a visitor from a member from out of town. Please return at a better time where things are calmer and easier to understand.

S Williams
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