Ben's note: Contributor Shelly Williams left Louisiana in 2006 to start a post-law-school graduate program of some sort. She finds herself in East Orange, NJ, which turns out to be worthy of stories and pictures.

Being white and southern in New Jersey, Part 1

August 27, 2006

Since my apartment will not be ready until September 1, Seton Hall is housing me in an apartment on their main campus. I was driving around on Saturday and saw this very pretty United Methodist Church. Small Church with lots of pretty stain glass window. I thought I would give it a try -- you know, start the school year off on the right foot. The sign said services at 10:00 on Sunday. Went to the Sunday service -- ONLY WHITE PERSON IN THE WHOLE PLACE. Come to find out, it is a mainly African-Carrribean congregation. The sermon was entitled "When Trouble Comes." You are not going to believe this but a good part of the sermon was about not turning to witchcraft when trouble comes but to turn to God. I almost fell off the pew. I was absolutely amazed. I could not tell you how many "Amens" "Praise God" and "Thank You Jesus'" were volunteered. To top it all off, the service lasted an hour and forty five minutes. I was so entranced I didn't even notice until I got in my car. It was quite an experience. You would think that a UMC would be pretty generic and vanilla. BOY WAS I WRONG!!!