PROLOGUE
“Well, Judith, you certainly have stepped into a world.” Sitting at break-
fast in a Brooklyn restaurant, one of my mentors succinctly summed up
my circumstances. I laughed—­such an accurate and eco­nom­ical response
to my opening fifteen minutes of stories about beginning research in the
church.
I entered the world of Apostolic Pentecostalism without having had
any long-­ t erm, ongoing relationship with a church community. My dad was ­
career military, which kept us on the move. Our inconsistent church life
shuttled between generic army Protestant (when we lived on a base), local
community churches (when we lived off-­ b ase), and sometimes no church.
But we always prayed our “thank you for this food” and “now I lay me down
to sleep.” My most memorable church time took place in Denver during my
ju­nior high school years. We lived just southeast of Five Points on 23rd and
Downing Street in my grand­mother’s ­ house and attended a nearby Pres-
byterian church. ­Because my mom had been born and raised in Denver,
we knew folks in the church beyond Sunday. That, however, ­ didn’t keep
me ­ there, and I asked permission to join the Methodist church down our
street—­this was not based on theological reasoning, but rather I happened
to see the upcoming calendar of events for the Methodist youth group. The
trips looked exciting. Thus, my early investment in church life had nothing
to do with sin, salvation, the Bible, Black religious life, or thoughts of the
hereafter. I wanted to go camping in the Rockies. My knowledge of and in-
terest in Black ­women’s church work came ­later in life from friends relating
experiences of growing up in church communities. My interest in the world
of the spirit grew ­ l ater in life, as well, but my interest in Black Holiness-­
Pentecostal ­ women developed in grad school.
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