A story in Saturday’s LAT about a traveling preacher in the Deep South caught my eye – its a very interesting, very colorful profile, with lots of history and context:
Brown is pastor of seven churches in Louisiana and Mississippi, and preaches one or two Sundays every month at each. He is one of a dying breed of traveling preachers in the Deep South whose calling is catering to numerous African American congregations, many of which date to the plantation era.
His predecessors galloped around on horseback, or rode the rails from town to town, and stayed overnight at deacons’ houses. He drives the highways and byways in a 2003 Chevy Impala, and stops for meals at Waffle House or Wendy’s, then heads home every evening.
Brown shuttles between churches during the week, leading Bible studies and performing funerals. His seven congregations ‚Äî ranging from about 250 to just 30 members ‚Äî are within two hours of his small brick home in Monroe, La. He has no salary or healthcare package and survives on whatever worshipers donated that week.
It is a way of life that Brown believes may not last beyond his generation. Younger church members are increasingly demanding full-time pastors instead of itinerant preachers, and are merging country churches to form midsized congregations. They are also increasingly abandoning the lore-filled worship houses of their forefathers in favor of the megachurches that are homogenizing the American landscape, much like Wal-Mart has transformed Main Street.
The story is accompanied by a really cool video narrated by the reporter. It’s the type of project I wish I could get in on.
But here’s my question. Why is the LAT covering the Deep South this way, and not the metropolitan Los Angeles area? Hm.