OAKLAND — Step central Allen Temple Baptist Abbey on International Boulevard on a Sunday morning and you are abiding to apprehend a Bible reading, a address and lots of actuality music.
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These canicule you ability additionally get a history lesson.
This year marks the centenary of Allen Temple, one of Oakland’s oldest atramentous churches. It began in 1919 as a storefront on East 14th Street and Seminary Avenue.
Back then, the 21 aggregation associates sat on adopted folding chairs as the Rev. J.L. Allen ministered.
Today, the abbey occupies an absolute burghal block in the flatlands and boasts a 1,200-seat sanctuary, area white-gloved ushers adviser worshipers to their seats during two Sunday morning services.
Video screens on the walls advertisement the service, acceptance about anyone in the aggregation to accept an abundantly appearance of what’s happening.
Stained bottle windows affection Jesus and cardinal abstracts of the church, including Allen, the founder. An aflame dejected cantankerous hangs abreast the choir.
“This is family. This is home,” said Elizabeth Douglas, a abbey affiliate back 1980. “There is consistently addition here. There is consistently article activity on.”
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Donald Orviss, 81, said his mother aboriginal brought him to the abbey as an infant, accustomed him in her arms. He was baptized at Allen Temple at age 9 in 1947.
“This abbey aloft me,” Orviss said. “The acquaint that I accept abstruse here, actuality respectful, affectionate to others — of captivation the aperture accessible for the being advancing abaft you — they still stick with me.”
Allen Temple offers a host of ministries, alignment from extensive out to bodies with AIDS and those who are confined to allotment a Boy Scout troop and alms Sunday academy classes.
The abbey uses amusing media for circadian beat and live-streams adoration casework for those who aren’t able to be there in person.
What has remained connected throughout Allen Temple’s 100-year history is bond what’s preached from the belvedere to people’s accustomed lives.
On a contempo Sunday, the Rev. Dr. Jacqueline Thompson, the church’s chief pastor, wore a amethyst dress to highlight calm violence. The men’s choir wore blush ties to accession acquaintance of breast cancer.
“God did not accord us easily for the purpose of afflictive people,” a bedfellow preacher, the Rev. Dr. Mitzi Smith, a canon abettor visiting from Georgia, told worshipers. “God is never absent to oppression, behindhand as to who the perpetrators are.”
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An Oakland built-in who grew up accessory the church, Thompson became the aboriginal changeable pastor of Allen Temple in April. She ahead served as abettor pastor for nine years and took over the top column from the Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith Jr.
“This is home for me,” Thompson said. “I feel adored and accustomed to serve the bodies here.”
While the church’s mission of beat has remained the aforementioned back its founding, Thompson said, the adjacency about it is different.
Streets area already predominately banal atramentous families lived are now fabricated up of immigrants from Mexico or Central America, absorption Oakland’s alteration demographics.
“It’s not aloof the flatlands or this neighborhood,” Thompson said. “Look at burghal and the cardinal of architecture cranes. Change is accident everywhere in the city. I grew up actuality and it can be adamantine to accumulate clue of, it’s accident so fast.”
According to the 2000 census, African Americans fabricated up about 35 percent of Oakland’s population. In 2010, that alone to about 28 percent.
Next year’s demography is accepted to appearance alike beneath blacks in the burghal as the Bay Area’s abrupt apartment costs advance them and others to move to afar areas such as Stockton, area things are added affordable.
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“Many churches are disturbing with befitting up appearance as bodies move away,” Thompson said. “Our aggregation is strong. But some Oakland churches are now ‘commuter churches,’ with bodies advancing from afar abroad to attend.”
Most of the Allen Temple aggregation alive in Oakland. But others appear from adjoining cities such as San Leandro.
Terry and Latondra Goode biking from Richmond anniversary Sunday.
“We drive maybe 20 afar to appear here,” Terry Goode said. “That’s what this abbey agency to us. It gives you hope, and it gives you focus.”
Kathleen Johnson has been authoritative the cruise from Hayward to Allen Temple for 22 years.
“What keeps me advancing is it’s family,” Johnson said. “I accept a warm, admirable activity back I am here. It’s the relationships that I accept here.”
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