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Old-Time Religions Discussed on TV Program

BOONE–Old-time religion expert Howard Dorgan calls Appalachia one of the most religiously diverse areas of the country because of its many different segments of Baptist, Holiness and Pentecostal churches. He discusses their history and worship practices on “Appalachian Perspective” cable television program.

The 30-minute program, hosted by Chancellor Harvey Durham, is a production of Appalachian State University.

Before retiring, Dorgan was a communication professor at Appalachian. His scholarly interest in Appalachia’s religions began when he researched the speaking styles of radio preachers.

In the episode titled “Appalachia’s Old-Time Religions,” Dorgan shares how theological differences spawned 70-80 different kinds of Baptist churches and countless Holiness and Pentecostal congregations.

His 30 years of research have led him to dozens of small churches across the hollows of North Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. He has observed foot washings and flower services of forgiveness, and he has seen church members “swoon” in the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues.

A self-described humanist, Dorgan says he holds great respect for the churches he has documented. His books include “The Airwaves of Zion,” “Giving Glory to God in Appalachia” and “In the Hands of a Happy God.”

The episode “Appalachia’s Old-Time Religions” begins Feb. 23 and will air through March. “Appalachian Perspective” can be viewed in Watauga County on three cable channels: Charter Communications’ Channel 21 each weekday at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., and Channel 2 at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday; and on MTN’s Channel 18 at 9:30 a.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.