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No Depression in HeavenReligion and the Great Depression in the Mississippi Delta$

Alison Collis Greene

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199371877

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199371877.001.0001

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(p.203) Appendix Major Religious Groups and Denominations in Memphis and the Delta

(p.203) Appendix Major Religious Groups and Denominations in Memphis and the Delta

Source:
No Depression in Heaven
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

Denomination or Association

Acronym

Other Names

Racial Composition

Geographic Distribution

Other

American Baptist Association

ABA

Association Baptists, Landmark Baptists

White

Rural Arkansas Delta. Based in Little Rock and more numerous outside the Delta, in Arkansas and Texas

Fundamentalist, premillennialist. Organized in Arkansas in 1924, largely of churches that broke from the SBC beginning in the late nineteenth century

National Baptist Convention of America

NBCA

National Baptists

African American

Distributed throughout the region

Smaller denomination that divided from the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A. in 1915

National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc.

NBC-USA

National Baptists

African American

Distributed throughout the region

The major black baptist denomination

Southern Baptist Convention

SBC

Southern Baptists

White

Distributed throughout the region

The major white baptist denomination in the South

Catholic Church

African American and white; also included recent Italian, Mexican, and Syrian immigrants

Primarily in Memphis and larger Delta towns, but operated rural missions

Churches of Christ

African American and white; largely white in the region

Distributed throughout the region, but strong in rural areas

Antidenominational and congregationalist; generally fundamentalist

Congregational and Christian Churches

Congregationalists

African American and white; largely white in the region

Primarily in Memphis

Organized in 1931 as a merger of two Congregationalist bodies. Now the United Church of Christ

Disciples of Christ

Christian Church

African American and white; largely white in the region

Distributed throughout the region

Same roots as Churches of Christ; generally less conservative

Protestant Episcopal Church

African American and white; predominantly white

Primarily in Memphis and larger Delta towns

Now the Episcopal Church

Reform Judaism

Predominantly established citizens of German and Western European origin

Synagogues in Memphis and larger Delta towns

Reform Jews operated the Neighborhood House, which served many Memphis children during the depression

Orthodox Judaism

Predominantly more recent Eastern European immigrants

Synagogues in Memphis

Memphis had (and still has) a particularly strong Orthodox Jewish community

African Methodist Episcopal Church

AME

African American

Distributed throughout the region

Founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1816; the oldest independent African American denomination

African Methodist Episcopal Church, Zion

AMEZ

African American

Distributed throughout the region

Founded in New York in 1821; had a smaller presence in the region than the AME or CME churches

Colored Methodist Episcopal Church

CME

African American

Distributed throughout the region

Founded and headquartered in Jackson, Tennessee, ninety miles northeast of Memphis. The CME changed its name to the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in 1954

Methodist Episcopal Church

Northern Methodists

African American and white; largely African American in the region

Primarily in Memphis and Delta towns, but operated rural churches as well

Methodist Episcopal Church, South

MECS

Southern Methodists

White

Primarily in Memphis and Delta towns, but operated rural churches as well

Methodist Church

Methodists

African American and white, divided into separate jurisdictions, with the Central Jurisdiction over all African American churches

Primarily in Memphis and Delta towns, but operated rural churches as well

The MECS, MEC, and Methodist Protestant Church (MPC) merged in 1939 to create the Methodist Church, now the United Methodist Church

Assemblies of God

AG

White

Distributed throughout the region

Most widespread white pentecostal denomination in the region

Church of Christ (Holiness) USA

African American

Primarily located in the Mississippi Delta

Based in Lexington, Mississippi, this is the church from which COGIC divided in 1907.

Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee)

Church of God

White

Based in East Tennessee

Pentecostal denomination headquartered in Cleveland, Tennessee, and the largest of the several denominations to use the title “Church of God”

Church of God (Holiness)

White

More widespread in the upper South; sparse in the Delta

An association of autonomous holiness congregations

Church of God in Christ

COGIC

African American

Distributed throughout the region

Headquartered in Memphis, COGIC was the largest African American pentecostal denomination in the region

Church of the Nazarene

Nazarenes

White and African American; predominantly white

Distributed throughout the region

Holiness and premillennialist

Pentecostal Holiness Church, Inc.

White

Distributed throughout the region

Pilgrim Holiness Church

White

A small denomination; just a few churches in the region

Cumberland Presbyterian Church

CPC

White

Primarily in Memphis and Delta towns

Presbyterian Church in the United States

PCUS

Southern Presbyterians

Predominantly white

Primarily in Memphis and Delta towns

Presbyterian Church in the United States of America

PCUSA

Northern Presbyterians

Predominantly white

Primarily in Memphis and Delta towns

After conservatives in each denomination departed, the PCUS and PCUSA merged in 1983 to become the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Adventists

African American and white

Distributed throughout the region

Premillennialist; distinguished by seventh-day (Saturday) observation of the Sabbath

American Unitarian Association

Unitarians

White

Primarily in Memphis

The Unitarians merged with the Universalist Church of America in 1961 to become the Unitarian Universalist Association.

This is not an exhaustive list of all denominations or religious bodies present in the region. It is a list of the more common religious bodies that appear in this book.

Sources: Compiled from Census of Religious Bodies, 1916, 1926, and 1936; Memphis City Directories, 1930–1940; and denominational records.

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