To Kill a Mockingbird

What are the most significant similarities between the white and Black churches? Differnces?

Chapter 12

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"Inside the church, everything is much simpler than in the church Scout is used to, and there are no hymnbooks. Reverend Sykes announces that the collection taken up today will go to Helen, the wife of Tom Robinson. Calpurnia's son Zeebo, the town's trash collector, leads the congregation in hymns, singing each line and having the group repeat it back to him. Reverend Sykes gives a sermon, which seems similar to the sermons Scout is used to, except that he makes examples of particular people in the congregation to illustrate his points."


"The First Purchase church is noticeably shabbier and simpler than Scout's church, reflecting the material poverty of its congregation. However, though materially poor, the congregation displays a richness in human and spiritual dignity. Though exposed to decades of white racist hatred and discrimination, the entire congregation (except Lula) gives the Finch children a warm welcome. For the most part, the black community seems unified in a sense of solidarity that their poverty and shared hardships help to solidify. The Reverend singles out individuals in front of the group in his sermon because within a community of discriminated people, the actions of individuals have a more profound effect upon the image of the entire group. Thus, it becomes every individual's responsibility to act with the group's common goals in mind. Likewise, in making a collection for Helen Robinson, everyone in the community must sacrifice a little more than they are comfortable with in order to help out those in need. In a more affluent social group, the very wealthy can act as philanthropists, doling out large sums to support the very poor without significant sacrifice to their own large fortunes. In the black community, the needs of the poorest members are felt by everyone else in the group.

Despite the differences between the black and white congregations, Scout notes that most aspects of the service are very similar, including the nature of the sermon itself. This demonstrates that the two groups, though so socially segregated, share much in common where the issue of faith is concerned. Like the courtroom (house of the state), later in the book, the church (house of God) is a space in which all people can be treated on equal terms."