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Senior Pastor -The Rev. Dr. Kendrick E. Curry

Deacon- Dorothy Whitney

Sunday-Morning Attendance – About 200

Service Length- 105 minutes

Congregants Under – 303

Sample Dress – Dark suit, wingtips, fedora

CONGREGATIONAL FERVOR

Post–11 a.m. stragglers were common at Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist on a recent Sunday, though those who arrived in time for the opening hymn sang along with gusto, sans hymnals. The congregation was relaxed, laughing along with the pastor at times, at other times rising with him, clapping, and hollering. Visitors received a warmhearted welcome; this reporter and another first-timer were asked to address the congregation. 3 stars

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FOOD FOR THE SOUL

Curry’s sermon was merciful in both subject matter and duration. His apocalyptic theme connected recent events—Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, avian flu, earthquakes—with the Gospel of Matthew’s “wars and rumors of wars.” The time of the second coming of Christ is near, Curry told the congregation, amply footnoting his words with Biblical references. He took a brief swipe at gays and lesbians, but praised the compassion of Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, who offered hurricane victims doctors and cheap oil, respectively. Curry held up the U.S. government’s refusal as evidence of “pridefulness and arrogance.” 3.5 stars

FOOD FOR THE BODY

An all-you-can-eat breakfast is served at 8:30 a.m. Typical offerings include eggs, grits, fried potatoes, either bacon or sausage, and sometimes pancakes. 5 stars

OVERALL WORSHIP POWER RATING

The congregation is warm and friendly, the service energetic. The church and its goers—to judge from the presermon announcements—are heavily involved in the community and in its schools. The pastor’s knowledge of the Bible impressed recent attendees. “He’s right on the Word,” said one man after the sermon. “He’s good, there’s no doubt about it. Y’all are lucky to have him,” his friend replied. Said the first man, “He’s probably too good. I doubt we can keep him.”4 stars

—Ryan Grim

Art accompanying story in the printed newspaper is not available in this archive: Photograph by Darrow Montgomery.