Why a Spiritual Royalty Initiative?

Negro Spirituals are considered the earliest form of religious music developed by African Americans during slavery. The creation of spirituals can be attributed to converting enslaved people to Christianity during the Great Awakening period. The enslaved people began exhibiting Christian beliefs through music, which included their hardship experiences. Spirituals allowed enslaved people to interpret and express religious beliefs and feelings along with their struggles through music. Spirituals united them and provided them with a way to deviate from their cruel surroundings. Yet, those who created these beautiful songs we repeatedly sing in our worship did not receive credit or recognition. In fact, their songs were stolen and put into songbooks for profit while the creators remained nameless. Therefore, there is a great debt owed to these Black artists and musicians that can never be paid.


How and when will the money be collected?

St. Paul's UCC recognizes that we owe a debt to these song makers.  While we can't repay the actual composers of these songs, we can collect money each time we sing a Negro Spiritual and provide that money to a local organization that seeks justice and recognition of Black music and art.  Therefore, during February - Black History Month, and at other times when we sing these Spirituals in our worship, we will collect donations in the following ways:


There will be specially marked envelopes where money can be given to this fund. Drop them in the offering plate or put them in the church office.

We will provide a QR code in the bulletin and online to take you directly to our Vanco site for your donation.


In addition, St. Paul's members are encouraged to spread the word through their own email and social media to encourage others to become informed and, if they desire, contribute to this initiative.   NOTE:  his initiative is NOT charity, but repayment of a debt we owe. Spirituals have generated much wealth for entitled white individuals and institutions since slavery.


Where will the funds go?

The Capital Area Music Association (CAMA) is a community choral arts organization emphasizing the music of African American composers and African American culture. The focus and goal for excellence in developing and presenting sacred and secular music and music education through their scholarship fund continue to be the impetus of presentations and activities sponsored by CAMA. 

Sankofa: Sankofa African American Theatre Company exists to engage and enrich the Harrisburg region around the African American perspective on relevant issues through thought-provoking theatre that reflects artistic excellence. Their website is www.sankofatheatrehbg.com.

Please contact Eric Dundore or Shirley Keith Knox if you have any questions or concerns.

Spirituals Adult Sunday School Class - Black History Month

Spirituals - Week One

02/05/2023 - Eric Dundore, Music Director

Spirituals - Week Two

02/12/2023 - Eric Dundore, Music Director

Spirituals - Week Three

02/19/2023 - Eric Dundore, Music Director

Spirituals - Week Four

02/26/2023 - Eric Dundore, Music Director