What If We All Treated Our Homes Like Church?

Not all churches have steeples. A church can be a chorus of Black laughter. A hymn hummed while walking down the street. It’s the gathering of community in a kitchen to swap stories. In short, the church is wherever we go to find the courage to challenge our oppressors.

What If We All Treated Our Homes Like Church?
Via Wikimedia Commons

During Reconstruction the only things being reconstructed were anti-Black systems and legislation. As Jim Crow laws spread terror across the South, the need for strong Black communities was greater than ever. 

The African Methodist Episcopal educator and author Octavia Albert created a “church” in her own kitchen.

Albert  regularly welcomed members of her community  into her home for meals, bible study, literacy lessons, and a sympathetic ear. 

She wrote down their stories, compiling an archive of roughly 250 years of Black history. The accounts were published after her death as “The House of Bondage” or “Charlotte Brooks and Other Slaves.” 

Albert intended to create an accurate record of the experiences of people like her who had been enslaved, and to hold white Christians accountable for enslavement and its legacy. 

Albert  was one of the first Black women authors to publicly challenge anti-Black oppressive systems and to demand that her readers, regardless of gender or race, do the same. 

A church doesn’t have to be a place. It’s wherever we gather to be in community, pray, learn God’s teachings, and share our testimonies. Like Albert, we know church can also be where we gain the courage to challenge our oppressors. 

Not everyone has access to a church that supports them in this way. How can we reimagine “church” to uplift our communities and future generations?  

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