Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ
The Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ was a Spiritualist
church operating in the African American community in
the United States. Spiritualism moved into the black community
in strength early in the twentieth century, but black people
were not welcomed in many Spiritualist congregations. As independent
movements began to form around talented individual
mediums, they tended to adopt the forms dominant in the pentecostal
and holiness churches and retain a central emphasis
upon the Bible. They also took the name ‘‘spiritual,’’ a reference
to the teachings concerning spiritual gifts mentioned in
several places in the epistles of St. Paul.
The Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ were
founded in Kansas City in 1925 by Bishop William Frank Taylor
(formerly a minister in the Christian Methodist Episcopal
Church) and Elder Leviticus Boswell (of the Church of God in
Christ). It grew quickly and soon had congregations across the
Midwest and one in California. In 1942, shortly before Taylor’s
death, the Metropolitan Churches merged with the Spiritual
Churches of the Southwest to create the United Spiritual
Churches of Christ. However, soon after Taylor died, a split occurred
between Bishop Clarence Cobbs of Chicago, who believed
himself Taylor’s rightful successor, and Bishop Thomas
Watson, who had headed the former Spiritual Churches of the
Southwest. Two factions developed, the largest one accepting
the leadership of Cobbs, pastor of the First Church of Deliverance.
Under Cobbs’s leadership, a revived Metropolitan Spiritual
Churches of Christ expanded to encompass close to 100 congregations
in the 1960s. It also expanded to West Africa, making
it the largest spiritual association operating in the United
States. Last known address 4329 Park Heights Ave., Baltimore,
MD 21215.
Sources
Murphy, Larry G., J. Gordon Melton, and Gary L. Ward. Encyclopedia
of African American Religions. New York Garland Publishing,
1993.