Observation Visiting Church Black Religion

Only one Required Book  Black Religion and Black Radicalism,  by Gayraud S. Wilmore, 3rdEdition. Available on Amazon.  Be sure to order this book at the start of the semester. 

 Recommended writing book—:Rules of Thumb Silverman, Hughes and Wienbroer. (any edition is a helpful writing source). You can find it on Amazon for less than ten dollars. This is a very comfortable book and actually a delightful size and content. It is an excellent keepsake for quick source on writing.   

Welcome and Course Description

This course provides students  study of  Black American religions and places of worship as mobilizers of political activism in the fight for equity in American before and after emancipation from slavery. For African Americans, Black religions have historically been  institutions through which African Americans  have worked to achieve social, economic, and political equality as well as spiritual guidance and social interaction. The focus of this course is that of  Black American experiences in religion from Black perspectives, and not from that of non-Blacks. This course covers  Black religious denominations that (a) are founded  by Black Americans; that (b) are in the control of Black Americans. It is not about religions founded in other places in the world.. 

This is a totally online ILearn class, having NO required in-class meetings. It is most important that you thoroughly read the syllabus, as otherwise you will not have the information necessary for success in this class. There will be lectures and weekly assignments. I say this up front so that you enter this class aware of the structure of the class, and the importance of keeping up with the requirements.

Please know that all messages to me must be sent and received on your SFSU email address. Please check your emails each day as I send them often as needed to convey a message or update.  And all assignments must be submitted on ILearn: No assignments are accepted on email. so please do not send assignments on email as they will not be downloaded. I look forward to you this semester in this ILearn class. Welcome!  .

Taking this class means you will meet the requirement of two observation visitings to two different Black places of worship: Requirement A  and yRequirement B: As we will study the AME and the AME Zion Churches both founded in the 18 century and internationally strong today, , as well as the local San Francisco Third Baptist church, an historical Black activist church, the first visit, Requirement A is to one of those three choices, explained as follows:.


1)    An African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church: a religion founded by  Richard Allen in the 1700s . There are many locally, nationally, and internationally for you to chose from. Anything you can share about the history of the church would be good. Goto the website or contact the church to be sure it is an AME Church. 


2)     An  AME  ZION  church; a religion also, founded by Black Americans in the 1700s. There  also are many locally, nationally, and internationally for you to chose from. Anything you can share about the history of the church would be good. Goto the website or contact the church to be sure it is an AME Zion Church. 


3)    Third Baptist Church in San Francisco, founded in 1852 and has a long history of community activism and with San Francisco State University (Information and address can be found on their website: https://thirdbaptist.org

Choices 1 and 2  grow out of our study of 18 century Black American religions that are still going strong today. There are many AME and many AME  Zion churches to choose from whether you are in San Francisco or cities nationally or internationally. Choice 3.  ff you are in San Francisco ,3rd Baptist has a long history of community activism is easy to reach by public transportation.  

Once you decide which of the above 3 choices to make your Requirement A observation visit to, be sure to check their website and follow up with a phone call if necessary, for the correct time of their Sunday Worship service.   


For your second required observation visit to an African American founded place of worship–notice I did not say Christian as for Required B  it can be of any religious denomination, not just Christian although you may again choose Christian if you wish to.  Just keep in mind that you may choose among the many  religions and places of worship  founded by African Americans and with an African American leadership.  .

Both  Observation Visit Reports must include all of the following, Number your paper 1-7 (an optional 8) and answer each question in order.

  1. Provide the name and address  of the place of       worship  where you conducted your observation, and a brief history       of that place of worship. Include their web address in your report.
  2. Describe the church grounds and building
  3. Explain  the order of the worship service (it       should be in their handout if they have them: if not TAKE NOTES.
  4. Describe the  demographics of the congregation;       BE SPECIFIC–PROVIDE DETAILS, It must have a dominate Black American       congregation, and Black American leadership. 
  5. If there is music describe it; NAME THE SONGS AND THE       MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS (IF THEY HAVE THEM).
  6. Provide the name of the minister who gave the       sermon 
  7. Describe of the sermon: Who gave it and what was it       about on the day you visited.
  8. Optional, if so inclined, you may comment on your       personal experience as an observer there on assignment.
  9. Students may      make the church observation visits as early as you like but the last day      to submit the Requirement A observation report is April 14 and Requirement      B observation report is

3. Dear Students in AFRS 326 Section 1;

4. Due to the corona virus crisis, you now have a choice, based on your discretion, of whether to make an in-person observation visit or in lieu of being required to make an on-site observation visit for Requirement A and Requirement B, you can have the option of researching on the web a specific present-day  church under Requirement A  and a specific present- day place of worship under Requirement B, and submitting researched reports based on what you learn about the specific places rather than making  on-site observation visits in-person.. Your reports must include, but are not limited to:                                                                                                                 1) the name of the  the religion, the name of the church/place of worship, address , head clergy person,                                                                                                                                    2) all the information on their Web site, including photos,                                                                                3) facts about their history– including that it was founded by African Americans. is led by African Americans, and has a dominate African American congregation                                                                                                           4) description of  the programs they offer, and who leads them                                                                                                                5) the times and number of services they have on their day of worship. (Sunday for churches, but other African American religions may have their  main day of  worship on another day of the week)                                                                                                              6) names of their  clergy, and positions                                                                                         7) if they have  sermons online, choose one and discuss the theme and points covered.                                                                                                                  8) any other insight into the places of worship beyond what I have noted in 1-7 questions above.

5. The due dates remain the same –Requirement A, due date is April 14, and Reequirment B the 

6. This message is not for students who have already complete both Requirement A and Requirement B Church observation Reports.
I recently sent you instructions for your Observation Visits Reports that are now made on line and not in person , in respect of our obeying the order to avoid going out except for life essentials. I am here again giving you those same instructions as a reminder.  Your Observation Visit Report must include:
1)      The name of the religion, the name of the place of worship,
2)      The name of the head Clergy person,
3)      All that you can learn from their website, including address, phone etc., history as founded by African Americans, that it is a dominate African American congregation and leadership, photo(s),
4)      Descriptions of the programs they offer and who leads each on them,
5)      The times and number of services they have on their day of worship,
6)      Names of all their clergy and their positions,
7)      If they have sermons online, choose one and discuss the points covered, and who
delivered the sermon
8)       Any other insights into the place of worship beyond what I have noted in questions 1-7.
The due dates remain the same. Requirement A and Requirement B . requirement A. 5 pages due April 8

requirement B. 5 pages due April 8


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