Definitions starting with R

ID #4925

Religion

The Bahamas is a very Christian country; the largest groups are the Baptists (29%), the Anglicans or PISTABLES (23%), the Roman Catholics (22%), and smaller groups such as the SEVEN-DAY PEOPLE. The fundamentalist or JUMPER CHURCHES are historically connected to similar Black churches in the American South. They are noted for joyful SONG SERVICE or SHOUTING MEETINGS with lively rhythms and hand-clapping as well as CRYING when members GET THE HOLY GHOST. Sinners who are SEEKING repent at the MOURNER'S BENCH, guided by the DRAWING SPIRIT; the saved will not BOOGIE in hell. Religion is a source ofUPLIFTEMT throughout life; most Bahamians are21 PRAYED FOR as babies and CHURCHED before burial. Small acts of piety are integral parts of everyday life for many: when speaking of future plans — even for the next day — people will add "IF GOD SPARE MY LIFE.""IF GOD SPARE MY LIFE." Many families would not think of eating a meal before GRACING it, and children are taught to say OUR FATHER PRAYS before going to bed. To emphasize that what they are saying is the absolute truth, Bahamians will say, "This is BIBLE." They invoke the strength of the Deity by crying "FATHER!" but refer to the Devil when they exclaim "JOHN BROWN!" An Anglican or Catholic priest is referred to as the FATHER, but Baptist ministers are referred to as the REV, which is also a polite term of address. In some Protestant sects the second in command within a congregation is called the SOCIETY STEWARD.

Although church life is certainly important for many people in Nassau, in some small out-island settlements it can become the major focus of social life and even entertainment in places with­out cinemas or television. In such communities churches may present CONCERTSto raise funds. A CHAIRMAN acts as master of ceremonies, announcing hymns sung by the choir. Then the BEGGAR-MAN collects donations from the con­gregation, announcing the amount as the money is handed over to the BOX-MAN. Large contribu­tions are met with a RALLY, in which members of the congregation so moved may march or STRUT up and down the aisle to the rhythm of a joyful spiritual.

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Last update: 2012-11-30 19:01
Author: Holm and Shilling, DBE, 1982
Revision: 1.7

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