Heaven only knows how long sermons at historically black Protestant churches last — but on average, they are almost four times as long as those in Roman Catholic churches, according to a new study.
The Pew Research Center analyzed 49,719 sermons delivered in April and May that were shared online by 6,431 churches in what it described as “the most exhaustive attempt to date to catalogue and analyze American religious sermons.”
While the median length of sermons was 37 minutes among the major branches of Christianity in the US, according to “The Digital Pulpit” study, they clearly have vastly different traditions.
Catholic sermons were the shortest, at a median of only 14 minutes, compared with 25 minutes for those in mainline Protestant congregations and 39 minutes in evangelical Protestant congregations.
Meanwhile, historically black Protestant churches had by far the longest sermons — at a median of 54 minutes.
Sermons at the black churches lasted longer than mainline Protestant sermons even though, on average, they contained about the same number of words, according to Pew.
A possible explanation is that the preachers at black churches allow more time during their sermons for musical interludes, responses from worshipers and dramatic pauses in their oratory, the study said.
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