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"Gospel tourists" descend upon Harlem churches en masse, cause friction with the faithful
NEW YORK (AP) ' "Gospel tourists" are descending upon Harlem churches en masse, causing friction with the faithful.
The New York City neighborhood's churches have become popular tourist attractions for visitors from all over the world who want to listen to soulful gospel music at a black church service. The growing crowds are causing some problems.
To preserve the sanctity of the service, pastors are struggling to enforce strict rules of conduct. At Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the oldest black church in the state of New York, visitors are not allowed to take photos or leave during the sermon. But some people ignore the rules.
The visitors are filling church pews that would otherwise remain empty. They're also helping to keep the churches afloat financially.