Building a New Aesthetic for the Black Church Funeral: “Hello Black Church, I Am the Green Funeral”

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2022

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Abstract

The care of creation is the responsibility of all Christians. Consequently, the Black Church has a role to play and must attend to its responsibilities seriously. In this thesis, I take a comprehensive look into rituals of the Black Church related to death—funerals, memorials, and burial practices—and how the church can take ownership and be more responsible in the care of creation. For instance, the Black Church could benefit from a new aesthetic of beauty related to funeral processing. Currently, the Black Church funeral concept of aesthetics is tightly coupled with visuals and preservation of the corpse—shiny gold coffins and embalming. As a chaplain, director of bereavement, and minister of the Gospel, I focus on the Black Church’s relative silence and insufficient attention given to how our practices around death go against the foundational principle of covenant relationship and therefore distort our perceptions of Christian beauty. This thesis engages aesthetics and ecological commitments that lead to introducing practices of ministry that honor God and contribute to the care and sustainability of the earth.

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Collins, Sequola (2022). Building a New Aesthetic for the Black Church Funeral: “Hello Black Church, I Am the Green Funeral”. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/25011.

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