Church life in the Samaná province of the Dominican Republic is steeped in history. In 1824, 300 African Americans sailed from the port of Philadelphia and settled in the Samana province of the island. It is an isolated region, and up until the last 50 years- it was virtually inaccessible, except by boat.
This isolation had many effects on the population. One of the main effects was traditional church services and the use of the church as a community gathering place.
In Samana, a church isn’t simply a way to worship God and pray- it is a way to keep the community together and hold on to those traditions that might otherwise be lost. The people who founded and settled this region of the island had to overcome many hardships together- but the church was their mainstay.
The churches in Samana are filled with activity and life. Hymns that have been passed down for generations are still being sung in the same way, by descendants of the same people who sang them almost 200 years ago.
The church is the lifeblood of the community in Samana.