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Imani Temple African-American Catholic Congregation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Imani Temple in Washington, DC
Imani Temple in Washington, DC

The African-American Catholic Congregation and its Imani Temples are an African-centered Catholic expression of the Christian faith. The congregation was founded in 1989 by the Reverend George Augustus Stallings, Jr., a former Catholic priest.


George Augustus Stallings, Jr., a priest of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington,[1] founded the Imani Temple African-American Catholic Congregation as a single congregation in Washington, D.C. on July 2, 1989. It was an independent church for people who favored an Afrocentric but quasi-Catholic worship style. Within a few months, Imani Temple attracted ex-Catholic and ex-Protestant followers and former Roman Catholic clergy. It grew to a group of nine churches in several cities. Later it expanded to include 13 churches.

In 1989, The Washington Post reported that a former altar boy at St. Teresa of Avila Church accused Stallings of sexual misconduct over a period of several months in 1977. Stallings said "I am innocent," declining to answer questions.[2] In a follow-up series of three articles in 1990, Post reporters Bill Dedman and Laura Sessions Stepp reported that concerns about Stallings' association with teenage boys had helped lead to his split with the Roman Catholic Church.[3][4][5] Stallings's former pastoral assistant, who was 22 at the time, spoke publicly about having a two-year sexual relationship with him.[6] In 2009 the archdiocese reached a $125,000 settlement with Gamal Awad, who said he was sexually abused at 14 by Stallings and a seminarian.[6]

By renouncing the authority of the Archbishop of Washington during the founding of the church, Stallings committed the canonical delict of schism. In recognition of this, in February 1990, the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal James Hickey, officially recognized that Stallings had, through his actions, excommunicated himself from the Catholic Church. In May 1990, Stallings was consecrated as an independent Catholic bishop and adopted the title of "Archbishop".

In 1994, the Imani Temple African American Catholic Congregation, purchased the former Eastern Presbyterian Church, [7] designed by noted Washington architect Appleton P. Clark Jr. and opened in 1893. The building was sold to property developers in 2014 and renovated into six luxury condominiums.[8]

In 2006, the excommunicated former Catholic archbishop Emmanuel Milingo performed a conditional consecration for Stallings and three other married independent Catholic bishops at the Imani Temple church in Washington.[9]


Imani Temple teaching, in contrast to Catholic teaching, allows women to be ordained. Unlike the Latin Catholic Church, it does not as a rule require celibacy of its priests. In 1991, their first female priest was ordained.[10]

Current status

The Imani Temple has headquarters in Washington, D.C. As of 2009, there are Imani Temple congregations in six cities of the United States and one in Lagos, Nigeria.


  1. ^ Jerome Cramer and Richard Ostling (May 14, 1990). "Catholicism's Black Maverick". Time magazine.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ [3]
  5. ^ [4]
  6. ^ a b William Wan (October 14, 2009). "Washington Archdiocese Reaches Settlement in Sexual Abuse Lawsuit". Washington Post.
  7. ^ Milton, Charnese A. "Plans to turn Imani Temple into residential units being considered", Capital Community News, December 6, 2014
  8. ^ Hopkins, Kathryn and Li, Miao. "Developers Say ‘Take Me to Church’", Mansion Global, April 5, 2016
  9. ^ "Archbishop Repudiates Expulsion" Washington Post, September 28, 2006, p. A12
  10. ^ "Black Catholic church welcomes female priest Woman makes history by saying mass", Baltimore Sun, September 23, 1991

See also

External links

This page was last edited on 26 September 2019, at 20:03
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