Material History of American Religion Project

Picturing Faith: Religious America in Government Photography, 1935 - 1943

Reverend Vondell Gassaway
Gordon Parks
August 1942
Washington, D. C.

In 1928 Vondell Gassaway founded the Verbrycke Spiritual Church and later the Saint Martinís Spiritual Center. Spiritual churches drew from traditional African religions, Catholicism, and the spirit-filled Protestantism of the holiness and pentecostal movements. Flourishing in urban centers, Spiritual churches emphasized preaching, teaching, healing, and prophecy. Reverend Gassaway is standing in a pool of water surrounded by flowers which will be given out in a blessing ceremony.

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