Back to All Events

Models of Underground Church

  • Beloved Community Center 417 Arlington Street Greensboro, NC, 27406 United States (map)

Greensboro, NC

As the church in the US grapples with an eroding position of privilege and influence in society, what is a vision of church from the margins that is actively seeking liberation from white supremacy, colonization, and empire? What past models of underground church among oppressed communities across the globe can shape the future theologies, practices, and structures of the church?

This event opens a conversation about two models of underground church: the Central American base Christian community movement and the hush harbors - or "invisible institution" - of the Antebellum period which was comprised of and led by enslaved Africans. The base Christian community (BCC) movement in Central America and the Philippines in the '80s and '90s worked to heal, empower, and sustain oppressed people to contribute all of the gifts of the church to broader movements for justice and peace. The BCCs met in homes and community spaces, used liberating Bible Study, engaged in dynamics designed to heal the spiritual damage caused by oppression, and participated action/reflection practices to build vital and innovative faith communities for personal and social change. Hush harbors were secret meetings, often in the wilderness, where enslaved Africans would gather to worship and organize for personal and political transformation. From the hush harbors emerged the Spirituals, Underground Railroad, slave rebellions, and the Black Church. Virtually overlooked when interrogating what faithful Christian community entails in the US, the base Christian communities and the hush harbors are a needed witness to cultivate new liberating expressions of church for these spiritually and politically volatile times.

Revs. Alexia Salvatierra and Nelson Johnson will enter into a discussion on these important questions and traditions. Adrienne Bailey Davis and Rev. Brandon Wrencher will moderate the discussion. This event is sponsored by The Good Neighbor Movement, Duke Divinity School Hispanic House of Studies, The Greensboro Pulpit Forum, Trinity AME Zion Church, Christian Community Development Association Western/Central NC Network, the Liberating Church Project, and The Mystic Soul Project - Greensboro. Children and youth are welcome to attend this event with their parents/guardians.

Later Event: September 11
Reviving Justice