The Intersection of Faith and Action in St. Louis, Missouri

Explore how faith-based organizations are driving community development initiatives in St. Louis, Missouri. Learn about how churches are connecting faith & action to create positive change.

The Intersection of Faith and Action in St. Louis, Missouri

Churches are an integral part of any community, and the growth and priorities of denominations often reflect the stories of the people within it. This is especially true in St. Louis, Missouri, where two religious conventions – the Missouri Baptist Convention and the Church of God in Christ – represent the political and religious affiliations of the city. The African Methodist Episcopal (AME) movement began in 1787 when Richard Allen took a group of black parishioners out of a Philadelphia church to form his own worship service.

This was a pivotal moment in history, as black churches have since become a source of leadership by connecting faith and action. The Unitarian Church of St. Louis was founded by William Greenleaf Eliot, T., who believed that church members should use election day to play games and watch vote counts on television. The Episcopalians followed in 1819 with Christ Church in 2nd and Walnut (now Christ Church Cathedral), and Methodists in 1821. Beloved Community United Methodist Church is taking steps to reach out to the wider community by creating Team Joshua Green, a coalition of Gate District churches that will take on their own green projects.

Central Baptist Church and First Baptist Church are transforming vacant lots into community gardens, which will provide produce to local food banks and families in need. The Christian Church of the Ministry of the House of Saint Joshua, in partnership with LinkSTL, is engaging children in their neighborhood about safe cycling practices and offering a program where young people can receive their own bicycle and helmet. Through this program, they will learn about air and water quality, native plants, environmental justice, and environmental injustices such as overabundance of empty and abandoned properties, food insecurity, and localized floods. The annual meetings of the Missouri Baptist Convention (mostly white evangelicals) and the Church of God in Christ (mostly black Protestants) will be held in downtown St. Louis. James AME created James House in 1970 on the former Poro College grounds as the first housing project developed by a church.

Deana Gangwish
Deana Gangwish

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