Rituals Of The Baptist Collegiate Ministry

1555 words - 6 pages

My goal for this assignment was to collect and analyze ritual practices within the American society. I began my research by attending a religious service in the Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) at the University of Georgia. The religious service was held in their chapel, located on the intersection of Lumpkin and Baldwin Street. Their religious services are every week on Tuesdays at 7pm. On the Tuesday of November 12, I attended one their ritual services to record my observations for my anthropological work. The service lasted about two hours, with me actively taking part of the ritual in the second hour. I came into the religious service thinking I would only observe and record my experiences; however, I found it more convenient for me to participate so that I could understand their rituals to a greater extent.
As I approached the BCM, I noticed that it was a two-story building made out of brick material and graphite. It had a courtyard and parking lot with two different entrances from the front and backside of the building; I went into the backside of the building where I saw the majority of the people entering. As I entered, I had two greeters approach me to shake my hand and welcome me. One of their names was Jonathon. He was nice enough to give me a tour of the building. The first floor was a massive and hard-floor room filled with chairs, alters, musical instruments, and several groups of people spatially dispersed throughout the room. This is where the sermon is usually held on Tuesdays. The second floor seemed to be more of a sacred and quiet space for individual meditation. It had a sanctuary with a large cross engraved into the main window above the alter and a small prayer room. I made sure I was allowed to go into the sanctuary before I began recording my observations. The dim lit sanctuary was covered in fine red carpet with a ceiling as high as seventy-five feet. This was their sacred place where anybody could pray anytime during the day. Jonathon informed me that the cross was a symbol of Christ’s resurrection from the dead and the alter was a place for spiritual renovation. Also, in order to enter into the prayer room, people had to remove their shoes because the ground was considered holy. Just like the sanctuary, the prayer room also had a cross and an alter, in which people could bow and pray anytime during the day if they wanted to communicate with their creator Christ.
As Jonathon led me downstairs again, there were more people present in the spatial room than the first time I had entered. Most of them were UGA students from all kinds of races, such as whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics, and Native Americans. There were about 100 of these students in one massive room with a fairly equal amount of males and females congregating before the sermon began. They were mostly Baptists with a few people merely observing as I was. While observing, Jonathon invited me to participate in his “Dawg pack.” He explained that this was a...

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