November 14th, 2012
03:57 PM ET

Harlem churches attract European tourists to worship

(CNN) – On any given Sunday in Harlem, visitors might be surprised to see who is attending black churches.

Tourists are lining up to worship in Harlem, where black churches are becoming big, inspirational attractions for white European travelers.

It's a growing trend, and a cultural experience that's uniquely American. CNN's Jason Carroll reports.

Read more from CNN's In America Blog

Soledad O'Brien's documentary "Who is Black in America?" airs at 8 p.m. ET/PT on December 9 on CNN.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church

soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. rocketscientist

    I want a grilled cheese sandwhich

    November 15, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  2. John McGrath

    US black churches should send missionaries (with a choir) to Europe. That will get Euros back to church.

    November 15, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  3. OMNI

    You have looked deep into my heart, Lord, and you know all about me. You know when I am resting or when I am working, and from heaven you discover my thoughts. You notice everything I do and everywhere I go. Before I even speak a word, you know what I will say, and with your powerful arm you protect me from every side. I can’t understand all of this! Such wonderful knowledge is far above me. Where could I go to escape from your Spirit or from your sight? If I were to climb up to the highest heavens, you would be there. If I were to dig down to the world of the dead you would also be there. Suppose I had wings like the dawning day and flew across the ocean. Even then your powerful arm would guide and protect me. Or suppose I said, “I’ll hide in the dark until night comes to cover me over.” But you see in the dark because daylight and dark are all the same to you. You are the one who put me together inside my mother’s body, and I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me. Everything you do is marvelous! Of this I have no doubt. Nothing about me is hidden from you! I was secretly woven together deep in the earth below, but with your own eyes you saw my body being formed. Even before I was born, you had written in your book everything I would do. Your thoughts are far beyond my understanding, much more than I could ever imagine. I try to count your thoughts, but they outnumber the grains of sand on the beach. And when I awake, I will find you nearby.

    November 15, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • rocketscientist

      I prefer Angel Soft TP

      November 15, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  4. saggyroy

    I wonder if the Europeans walk away inspired, or are laughing at this.

    November 15, 2012 at 5:49 am |
    • truth be told

      You mock they worship. You should already know your answer.

      November 15, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • God hates shellfish

      Worship is useless.

      November 15, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • rocketscientist

      Um they will walk away laughing....watching bafoons jump around wavign arms is quite funny.

      November 15, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • rocketscientist

      Christian worship mocks rational and intelligence.

      November 15, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  5. rowerreporter

    I am amazed by the number of comments about food. They seem pretty irrelevant...

    Anyway about the Europeans going to Harlem churches, I do not know really know whether this is good or bad. If you take this story at face value, it says blacks and whites are coming to worship together and that is terrific. But my question is what made them go uptown? Why did they decide to venture out of Time Square and Midtown to a neighborhood that I would think so many outsiders would be afraid of? Why did we only hear from one tourist who said it was inspiring and that he would come back? It sounds as if he just walked out of a Broadway show. It seems like there is something missing here...

    For years, Harlem was though of as a place of high crime and so it was a place that many outsiders avoided. I know crime has gone down in the area but it's usually that developers come in, gentrify a neighborhood, make it looks about boring as some suburban mall and then outsiders come in thinking that the area is safe. Here though it seems that not a lot has changed aside from the people attending the church (although I do not know about this, I am not familiar with Harlem. I grew up and spend most of my time downtown below 14th st.). If only the developers saw that people like being involved in real culture, maybe they would not have changed so much and more of this city would still be as unique a place as it once was. So, I guess this is great! Religion is uniting people in unexpected ways.

    November 15, 2012 at 3:57 am |
    • John McGrath

      I can assure you that Europeans have been touring/visiting Harlem for decades. Maybe the church thing is new, maybe not, but Euros ion Harlem are nothing new. ... P.S. When I lived in New York I felt very comfortable visiting 125th Street, I am white.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • rocketscientist

      John do they serve chicken and pancakes?

      November 15, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  6. Cornerback

    I find it quite admirable that people are taking their tourist excursions to new heights. People are just walking aimlessly down 5th avenue or taking pictures of ever monument New York City has to offer. They are expanding their minds and experience to greater lengths. Going into Harlem and being a part of a service in a stepping stone not only for tourists, but our world as a whole. Seems like we are progressing in the right way after all.

    November 15, 2012 at 1:37 am |
    • Street Food

      Tourist in New York? Try our Thai Beef and Chicken Satay with Sweet Cucumber and Peanut dipping sauces. Two bucks each!

      November 15, 2012 at 1:51 am |
    • saggyroy

      Try the Kevin Bacon Cheeseburger.

      November 15, 2012 at 6:39 am |
  7. Corner Cafe

    The Doc V Bacon Bacon!

    Bacon covered in bacon with bacan inside of bacon.

    Bacon! Bacon!
    Where's the Bacon?
    I smell Bacon!
    Bacon, Bacon, gotta be Bacon...
    Only one thing smells like Bacon and that's Bacon!
    Bacon Bacon Bacon Bacon Bacon

    Free if you don't die first! Enjjoy!

    November 15, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • John McGrath

      What about the Bacon bacon bacon cheesebacon sandwich?

      November 15, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  8. Belief Blog Bistro

    ½ lb. Tri-Tip (bottom sirloin), grilled medium rare, sliced thin after marinating in its own juices and our succulent marinade. Served with spicy pinto beans, flour tortillas and homemade salsa. You WILL become addicted! $12.99

    November 15, 2012 at 12:54 am |
  9. Akira

    ....and once again, I am hungry.

    November 14, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Sushi Kanji

      Akira Katerpiller Roll (Rice, Cucumber, Toro, Sea Eel) $5.99

      Kirin Large $4.99

      November 14, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Akira

      Hot or room temp Sake?

      November 14, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Sushi Kanji

      Hot, room temp or chilled. You like Nigiri?

      November 14, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • Akira

      It sepends on what it's made with. I prefer sashimi, nigiri is fine by me, too.
      Not TOO much wasabi, tho!

      November 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Sushi Kanji

      We make sashimi thinly sliced. Try chef platter! Octopus fresh today.

      November 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Akira

      Yum. Color me there.

      November 14, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • Sushi Kanji

      Ok just for you, we have assortment sashimi (tuna, salmon, halibut) with fresh cucumber, radich, ginger and wasabi. then octopus salad. For appetizer, tofu soup and edemame. For desert you have Salmon Roe Sushi. You also to enjoy nigori sake chilled. Very good. Kampai!

      November 14, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Akira

      Now I'm waaaaaaaay hungry....

      November 14, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Welcome to the Rocky Mountain Retreat!

      Here we serve such delicacies as Pickled Pigs Feet for $1.50 a hoof, Cow Tongues sliced thinly for $2.oo a tongue, and our famous Rocky Mountain Oysters for only $3.00 a ball! Did I mention if you're the first ones to order on Friday afternoons you get a "Free" Pig's knuckle with your order of more than $10.00. Happy are these pig's feet!

      November 14, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Akira

      Hinduhater, you have no call to call me anything but Akira.
      A k i r a.

      Lionlylamb: no, thanks, I just ate at Sushi Kanji.

      November 14, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Sushi Kanji

      Akira you have green tea mochi on house. Thanks for coming!

      November 14, 2012 at 10:16 pm |

      Akira is based on an Arabic word, SA' kira, means darkness, negativity, or corruption of slit-eyed Satan, I call you, Satan, anything I wish, filthy, secular s, from illegality called Hong Donkey Kong. is that difficult to understand goon?

      November 14, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Sushi Kanji

      Hindu-Bot, if you no like California Roll just say so. No need bother other guests.

      November 14, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • phister your sister

      Smother donkeys sauce on my swollen member then let me fvck your bloody toothless mouths. Amen nukkas.

      November 14, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Sushi Kanji

      For phister your sister, we have nice Blow Fish, extra large portion.

      November 14, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Akira

      Actually, Hindulover, the roots of my name are not Arab in origin at all, you silly little goon.
      Nice try, though.

      November 14, 2012 at 11:40 pm |

    goons, European hindus, come visit our mosque in Har lem too, no need to be religious, like in black churches, you enjoy our hospitality, get affordable, hands-on training with our bomb making experts, or, if you dare, try out new Fear-Factor rooms, lock yourself up with our trigger happy worriers of Allah, goons, suicide bombers in a close room, and enjoy nightmares for a lifetime.

    November 14, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Hindu filthy thick crust ism

      Thanks to pizza chefism, greasy-ism of pepperoni thin crust folded, fork eating of deep dish red sauce ANCHOVIES, east coast and their pizza chef ism copy cat pizza chef Anthony, By the slice have lost meanings of traditional crust and alfredo of By the slice, ANCHOVIES, The deep dish red sauce, traditional crust and alfredo of Sappo filthy mall pizza. They hand toss the pie, but on their own pizza chef ism, ignorance. Visit bestpizzapie.com to learn meaning's of Word ANCHOVIES, deep dish red sauce, by the slice and the world ism.

      November 14, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    November 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • HeavenSense

      Hi Prayerbot.

      November 14, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • phister your sister

      Prayer makes you want to kick in Jesus face then shi.t in his eye sockets. See brown lord of fakes

      November 14, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" is the degenerate.

      This troll is not a christian.

      November 15, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:01 am |

    Report must be kidding or a naive person, European hindu's ignorant do not go to Harlem to pry, but thrill to get robed and some thing to get high, going to church is just an excuse to avoid arrest or questioning from police to be hind, drug and hinduism, crime infested area, or may be to visit safe house in extension of church building.

    November 14, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Belief Blog Bistro

      NO pork and NO alcohol used in any of our Muslim dishes. Come in and check out our "Believer in Truth Absolute" Menu!

      November 14, 2012 at 5:20 pm |

      what do you have for hindu's, ignorant s? they will love to have gober pinani and mooter on rock,s, their hindu filthy national food and drink on hindu, filthy holy days.

      November 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Belief Blog Bistro

      The hindu's, ignorant enjoy the full compliment of our tempting menu selections. They drink wine and eat bacon and enjoy life.

      November 14, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • veritas

      I love...hot dogs and bacon. Here is sumtin....one hot dog...sliced with cooper cheeder cheese....layered in onion...then....rolled in bacon...held together with tooth picks then grilled....and then on a toasted bun....you will die...

      November 14, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • The Dog from the Beggin' Strips Commercial

      Bacon! Bacon!
      Where's the Bacon?
      I smell Bacon!
      Bacon, Bacon, gotta be Bacon...
      Only one thing smells like Bacon and that's Bacon!
      Bacon Bacon Bacon Bacon Bacon

      November 14, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
  13. lionlylamb

    I may be of wrong sentiments but, "Just exactly why are country-torn apart individuals immigrating and/or comingto a place called Harlem to worship in tandemn with other skin-folks? I really do ot truly nderstand this mystery of an Age! Imaginations seem to be my forlorning dilemna when it comes to migrations of fair skinned folks all a flocking to Harlem churches sanctified as blck churches. Where's the beef in this?

    November 14, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Anudder un-proof reading cluster fluck,

      I may be of wrong sentiments but, "Just exactly why are country-torn apart individuals immigrating and/or coming to a place called Harlem to worship in tandemn with other than skin-folks? I really do not truly nderstand this mystery of an Age! Imaginations seem to be my forlorning dilemna when it comes to migrations of fair skinned folks all a flocking to Harlem churches sanctified as black churches. Where's the beef in this? It's a prophetic mystery it is !

      November 14, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Super Friends

      What happen to spell check lionlylamb?

      November 14, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Super Friends,

      Spell check you ask? Where is it? The hell if I know how or where such a thing is at! Half the time I proof read my posts and the other half I do not read thru before posting. Most times I am a slacker in proof be told readings. Sometimes I write it right and other times I just wing it! That reminds me, Time for to eat my wings! or shoud I say ham on rye? Why rye? L f I no why!

      Love not,
      Love knot,

      November 14, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Super Friends

      For small posts, I just type in the text box. For larger posts I compose in Word and copy and paste into the text box.

      November 14, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Super Friends,

      I don'y have "Word" on my comp. 🙁 All I have is 'sticky notes' No spell check,,, 🙁

      November 14, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  14. Virtual Restaurant IMPOSSIBLE! With your host, Chef Robert Irvine

    This week: Corner Cafe

    Ok, how are we doing? Have you made some progress on your pricing? Let me taste your food. Bring me a Reality Wrapper, a Blah Blah Cheeseburger, a Breakfast Burrito and……..Lionly Lamb Chops. Let ME taste your food. You think it tastes good do you? We’ll see, I have my doubts.

    November 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Virtual Restaurant IMPOSSIBLE! With your host, Chef Robert Irvine

      This food is UNACCEPTABLE. It's like three shades of gray. You actually serve this to customers? How many come back again eh? That's what I thought. It looks like I am going to have to teach your kitchen staff how to cook from scratch then. We don't have much time.

      November 14, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  15. Sushi Kanji

    Omae wo korosu!

    November 14, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Sushi Kanji

      That meant for Mcdonnel, my bad.

      November 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  16. McDonald's

    Try our .99 cent menu and happy hour drinks!

    November 14, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Corner Cafe

      Son of a...

      November 14, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Belief Blog Bistro

      Fuck me.

      November 14, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  17. Reality

    This simple prayer should put a stop to all of it:

    The Apostles' Creed 2012: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    (references used are available upon request)

    November 14, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Corner Cafe

      Limited time only, Reality Wrappers! Turkey, bacon, lettuce and tomato wrapped in a warm flour tortilla with creamy sauce. $3.99 each. Ok not really, they are $4.99 each and they don't really have bacon.

      November 14, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • Reality

      As requested:

      Saving singing Christians (and also the quiet ones) from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

      (Only for the new members)

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

      The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      November 15, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  18. Belief Blog Bistro

    Back off Toshi.

    November 14, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Sushi Kanji

      Ahhhhh...you martial arts expert? A like me?

      November 14, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  19. Belief Blog Bistro

    Not if we get to them first!

    November 14, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • Sushi Kanji

      Teppan grill open or you sit a sushi bar ok? This way ok?

      November 14, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  20. Corner Cafe

    We are going to busy now.

    November 14, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Virtual Restaurant IMPOSSIBLE! With your host, Chef Robert Irvine


      This week: Corner Cafe

      What were you thinking? You can’t tell me how much you are spending in Costs….to make a Panini…is THAT what you are telling me? How you can expect to make a profit when you don’t even know how much you are spending??? Alright, I to need to meet with my design team. YOU think about what I said.

      November 14, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.