This week I went to Harlem to attend services at rapper, Mase’s old church: Harlem’s Salvation and Deliverance Church, founded by Apostle William Brown in 1975. The first thing I was told upon entering was that attendance soared once word spread that this was Mase’s home church. This made me think about questions surrounding hip hop’s impact on religion in general and this faith community of Harlem in particular. The service was packed to the point where I couldn’t sit down. There were even people outside jumping and enjoying the service. The members of the church were extremely welcoming and actually spoke to me first before I got up the courage to ask questions. It was exciting to visit a religious institution and be amongst people who are young and positive, open and loving…and the music was also live and jumping.
I eventually walked around and asked several people about their experience within the church. I found out that the church is the headquarter church for a worldwide ministry focused heavily on youth services. To me it was shocking to see the youth so active within the church. They were actually the ones most involved. I can recall times when I’ve been in church and the kids would sing at events but not be nearly as active as they are in this church. I had a great time, seemed like everyone had a great time.