Jacksonville is a multicultural community with a long and strong history of black Protestant churches. Among the multiple denominations of Protestant churches in Jacksonville, there are also a number of Protestant nondenominational churches that provide total freedom of worship in an inclusive and welcoming community. Black churches in Jacksonville have historically served the African American community in a number of critical ways.
1. Community Hubs. Black Churches in Jacksonville are community hubs, where members of the community reach out to one another, offering solace and support in times of neighborly need. The Church has historically served the black community in Jacksonville by providing outreach, social services, and spiritual counseling. Fundraising, working with other community organizations that are faith-based as well as secular, and helping people with things like childcare are among the many community services a black church in Jacksonville can and does provide.
2. Spiritual Home. The most obvious function of a church is its Biblical function as a place of worship of God. The Bible clearly explicates the reasons for gathering in His name. Christ is the “cornerstone” of any Christian church (Ephesians 2:20). When members of the black community in Jacksonville have suffered violence, oppression, and discrimination, the House of Worship provides a level of unparalleled spiritual sustenance and strength: “you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,” (Ephesians 2:19).
3. Liberation and Joy. Historically in the South, black Churches offered the African American community the means by which to achieve spiritual liberation. This is true as much in the 21st century as it ever was, as all members of the Jacksonville community learn to work together no matter what our backgrounds, united in our love of God.