Monday, July 23, 2012

Joy Temple

Joy Temple A.O.H. Church of God on Woodland Avenue in Cleveland, on a recent summer Sunday morning. The sublime sound of children singing, accompanied by two boys playing drums, drew us closer. (The A.O.H., or Apostolic Overcoming Holy Church of God, is a pentecostal movement founded in Alabama in 1915, whose guiding principle is to spread the apostolic spirit to as many people as possible.)

The Deacon introduced himself and graciously invited us inside during a service for young people. We were welcomed warmly, and the young congregants looked at us with some curiosity. The regular pastor was away, but the woman Elder delivered a forceful, common-sense sermon on the lessons of the Biblical David and the need for young people to slay the giants in their own lives: "fitting in," lust, disrespecting their parents, and holding on to bitterness and resentment. The children and teenagers, some overcome by the day's 90-degree heat, struggled to stay awake; a couple of kids had to be prodded to attention by the Deacon. The sermon was animated by the preacher's brilliant mimicking of defiant teenage behavior. It was a performance worthy of a top comedienne, but with a Godly purpose.

Three of the lovely young ladies and a fine young man (below) in attendance, after the service.

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