What does Calpurnia reply when Lula tells her only black folks can come to their church in To Kill a Mockingbird? 

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Lula confronts Calpurnia, insisting that she has no business bringing white children into the African Missionary Episcopalian Church, Calpurnia replies, "It's the same God, ain't it?"

One Sunday Calpurnia takes Scout and Jem with her to church because Atticus is in Montgomery as the state legislature has convened. The last time that he was gone, the children got into trouble at their church when they had no parental supervision; so, Calpurnia assures that the children are bathed and dressed well and takes them along to the African M.E. Church:

When they arrive at the church, Lula, a rather formidable woman, accosts Calpurnia, "What you up to, Miss Cal?" Calpurnia counters Lula's question with one of her own in tones that Scout says she has never heard her use, "What you want?"

"I wants to know why you bringin' white chillun to nigger church."

"They's my comp'ny," Calpurnia replies, in a dialect Scout has also not heard before. It is also then that Calpurnia tells Lula that the same God in worshiped in either church. But, Jem is uncomfortable and wants to go home, and Scout agrees. At that moment, the congregation advances and Zeebo, the garbage collector who is also Calpurnia's son, welcomes Jem and Scout, and he tells them to pay no attention to Lula, who is "contentious."

The children's experience at the church is a valuable one as they witness the poor conditions of the church and its congregation. Yet, song rises from the pews and the people contribute what they can to Helen Robinson. After the service, the children are also welcomed by Reverend Sykes, beside whom they will later sit in the courtroom at the trial of Tom Robinson.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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