Full Transcript: Reverend Darla Swint on Church and Spirituality
Darla: I was raised up in church, I don’t know life without church and God. If you took that away from me I would cease to exist. My grandfather on my dad’s side was a bishop. And back then— today it’s Church of God and Christ— but when we were kids it was just Sanctified, which means to be set aside. So the family church, if you ever get a chance, you’re not far from it, is Buffalo and Talbert, it’s a church. That church is Baldwin Church of Christ, is an exact, from what our history tells us, is an exact replicate of the church in Georgia that the families had. I come from a long line of ministers. Berry Gordy, is my cousin, I think he’s maybe my third cousin. His grandfather and my grandfather were first cousins. Their mothers were sisters. And originally, all of the families came from that church. And as they grew, my granddad took the members that wanted to come with him and he moved to Ecorse. Berry Gordy’s grandfather took his members and he has a church, I think it’s Gordy Memorial in River Rouge. Other family members stayed there. There are some, they don’t want you to know it, but there are some original Gordys there in that church today. So at 14 when my dad and granddad was building his church, I was short and little. He had a pulpit— the church at that point— it’s a big beautiful Cathedral now, but it wasn’t then. And there was nothing around but fields and little slap houses. And there weren’t any freeways getting out there, I think maybe 94 was there I’m not sure. But I remember having to get up on the weekends like 5 o’clock in the morning and driving out to Ecorse to sell barbecue dinners to build this church. Then on Sundays you have church all day in this one room there was a curtain in the back for the bathroom, if you had to go to the bathroom then she’s going to go with you to stand watch. There was a pulpit in the middle, some chairs, behind the pulpit you always had the little kitchen or something. And I taught Sunday School. I’ve just always been in the church, loved the church. I don’t believe in just going and being— I’m not a bench sitter in anything I do. I’m going to get up. Like now in the position that I’m in, they don’t want you, you know, you’re Reverend. And my thing is, oh I can go in the kitchen you know and they tell me, oh no no, you just go over there and sit down. I say, I’ll fix my plate, no. You know. The most they let me do is I’m the general superintendent of the Sunday School and I will not give up teaching. They’re not going to take that. And I told the pastor, because we have a new pastor and he came on board last year. There’s not an assistant pastor, that’s, I don’t feel as though that’s me, I’m in my calling. You know there’s ministry and teaching. So I teach the young adults and I don’t teach like the normal Sunday school teacher because we do groups. I’m a firm believer in groups being healthy. I think the schools should offer 45 minutes a day or every other day of group to the students and not be orchestrated by a teacher, but a trained therapist so that she can identify what’s going on. Because, it’s not always what you hear, a lot of times it’s what you don’t hear. There’s no me, and if I were to die tonight, and one person would come and say she was a spiritual minded person, she was really a spiritual women, then my life has not been in vain. I’m not a religious person because religious is what the white man used to enslave my people. He took words and made it a religion. They didn’t take the bible. People feel as though God’s word is what enslaved people. No, they took what they wanted and taught it to the slave who couldn’t read, the majority of them, and made it a religion. There’s a difference between spirituality and religion. I’m a spiritual-minded person.