August , 2018

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Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Archbishop Cupich to Celebrate Red Mass; Sponsored by Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago

Posted by Admin On September - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

The Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago invites lawyers, judges and all those who work in the legal system to attend the 82nd annual Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit, traditionally known as “The Red Mass,” at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4, at Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N. State St., Chicago. Archbishop Blase J. Cupich will serve as the Principal Celebrant and Homilist.

A reception following Red Mass at Loyola University, 111 East Pearson, 16th Floor, Chicago, Illinois. Cost is $75; students and clergy are free.

The reception honors Judge Virginia M. Kendall, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, recipient of 2016 Catholic Lawyer of the Year, and James J. Convery, Partner, Laner Muchin, the recipient of the Catholic Lawyers Guild Special Service Award.

For more information and to register: http://www.chicagoredmass.org

Dr. Barbara Reynolds to Preach Easter Sunday at Faith in Action Miracle Center, Los Angeles

Posted by Admin On March - 14 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
Speaker Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds

Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds will be guest speaker during Easter Services at Faith in Action Miracle Center. Reynolds is among many celebrities who have viewed the manifestations of Jesus and have testified to their authenticity.

Easter services will be held at 11:45 A.M. at Faith in Action Miracle Center, the church  formerly known as Family Christian Cathedral, located at 645 W. Arbor Vitae St., Inglewood, Calif.

The FACES OF JESUS that have appeared regularly on the church walls at the Faith In Action Miracle Center will also be celebrated Easter Sunday. The Faces Of Jesus that have appeared supernaturally during the Shemitah Year, has been viewed by thousands and was reported by major news services such as FOX, GERALDO & CBS are a celebration of His resurrection and will be the center of our worship services.

Rev. Dr. Barbara A. Reynolds is an award winning author and journalist. She is one of the co-founding editors of USA Today and has appeared on such major television shows as the “Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Politically Incorrect,” “C-Span”, “CNN and Co.”

Dr. Jynona Norwood

An ordained minister she is an elder at Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church in Washington DC, where for 39 years she has been the president and founder of the Harriets Anti-Drug Ministry. As a scholar and educator she has been a professor at the Howard University School of Divinity and Florida A&M University.

She is the author of six books including the Memoirs of Coretta Scott King memoirs to be released in 2017. Dr. Reynolds was Washington DC Mother of the Year for 2016 by the National Mothers Association.

Former Mayor Roosevelt Dorn, Mayor James Butts, Councilman Curren Price, Mrs. Del Richardson-Price, Dr. Dick Gregory, Actress Marla Gibbs, John Bellamy, dignitaries, celebrities’ and 1,000’s of witnesses have seen GOD’S GLORY!

Randall Maxey, MD, PhD: “I see Jesus and the living bible in your church this house is blessed.”

Dick Gregory: “Once you SEE it you cannot UN-see it!”

Dr. Reynolds, Award Winning journalist, author of the memoirs of Coretta Scott King to be released in 2017: “The Faces Of Jesus are one of the strongest evidences of His resurrection and He is still speaking to believers through signs and wonders throughout the world.”

Elder Gerald Harris, Fmr. Chief of Security For COGIC, Fmr. Warden of Soledad: “What I saw impacted my life!”

Rev. Robert Robinson, son of legendary genius Ray Charles: “This is HOLY ground. I was healed!”

Receive your Miracle Wall Easter Gift Sunday Morning, ONE service only.

Also, on Good Friday, March 25th, at 7:45 PM join us with Dr. Reynolds, Dr. Norwood & 5 Pastors preaching Christ 7 Last Words. Bring your prayer requests to be prayed over at The Miracle Wall!

President Obama’s Statement on Persecuted Christians at Christmas

Posted by Admin On December - 24 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

President Barack Obama:


During this season of Advent, Christians in the United States and around the world are preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  At this time, those of us fortunate enough to live in countries that honor the birthright of all people to practice their faith freely give thanks for that blessing.  Michelle and I are also ever-mindful that many of our fellow Christians do not enjoy that right, and hold especially close to our hearts and minds those who have been driven from their ancient homelands by unspeakable violence and persecution.

In some areas of the Middle East where church bells have rung for centuries on Christmas Day, this year they will be silent; this silence bears tragic witness to the brutal atrocities committed against these communities by ISIL.

We join with people around the world in praying for God’s protection for persecuted Christians and those of other faiths, as well as for those brave men and women engaged in our military, diplomatic, and humanitarian efforts to alleviate their suffering and restore stability, security, and hope to their nations.  As the old Christmas carol reminds us:

The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men.

Temple of Judah Ministries Hosts Christmas at the Richmond City Jail for the 40th Year

Posted by Admin On December - 23 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Bishop Melvin Williams, Jr. will take a portion of his congregation to the Richmond City Jail to hold Christmas Day services

RICHMOND, Va. – Bishop Melvin Williams Jr. and Temple of Judah Ministries have been blessing men and women in institutions of confinement for the last 40 years. This year is no different. The Pastor and a number of his ministerial staff and congregation will hold holiday services on Christmas Day to a host of incarcerated men and women at the Richmond City Jail.


The ministry has also delivered about 1200 care packages to be distributed to those inmates on Christmas Eve, so that they can know that during the holiday season, they are not forgotten. At 9 am on December 25th, the church members will pray, sing songs and deliver a message of hope which is often so necessary during this season.

Bishop Williams is a 2011 Cum Laude graduate of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Richmond’s Virginia Union University, and has served as Pastor to the Temple of Judah for the last 40 years. He is renowned as a man of the people and is adamant that the preached word of God must be applied outside of the church walls to our immediate community and beyond. A firm believer that we must do more than just go to church…we must become the church.

Temple of Judah Ministries is located in the heart of the city in historic Churchill at 2120 Venable Street. The mission of the Temple of Judah Ministries is to be Ambassadors; God’s assigned agents to bring healing, hope, help, and justice. With Evangelism, Christian Education, Discipleship, Worship, Stewardship, Fellowship, and Community Leadership as our primary aim, through ministries outreaching into the city of Richmond and surrounding community.

For more information go to www.templeofjudah.org or call 804-780-0841

Photo: Bishop Melvin Williams Jr.

Congressional Black Caucus Recognizes the Installation of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry as the First African American Leader of the U.S. Episcopal Church

Posted by Admin On November - 3 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield released the following statement recognizing the installation of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry as the first African American to lead the U.S. Episcopal Church.

“The Congressional Black Caucus commends Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on becoming the twenty-seventh Presiding Bishop, Primate, and Chief Executive Officer of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and chair of the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, which is the nation’s 14th largest denomination.  Presiding Bishop Curry becomes the first African American to hold the position, in what has been marked as a historic and momentous occasion for the nearly two million parishioners around the country.

“Previously the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of my home state of North Carolina and Bishop of Duke Chapel at Duke University, Presiding Bishop Curry was elected and overwhelmingly confirmed during the church’s 78th General Convention, formally taking office on November 1, 2015, to serve a term of nine years.

“Presiding Bishop Curry has remained steadfast in his faith throughout the course of his priesthood and has long served as a pillar within the Episcopal community.  Members of the CBC congratulate Presiding Bishop Curry and his family, and we pray that God continues to bless him in his faith and service to the ministry.”

Funeral Services for Lorraine Jakes, the Mother of Rev. Paul Jakes, Set For Friday Nov. 6. 2015

Posted by Admin On November - 3 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
“She was a praying woman”
Chinta Strausberg's photo.

By Chinta Strausberg

Visitation services for Lorraine Jakes the mother of Rev. Paul Jakes, will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, November 6, 2015, at the New Tabernacle of Faith Baptist Church, 531 North Kedzie, Chicago, IL 60612, headed by her son.

The wake will be held from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., Saturday, November 7, 2015 followed by the funeral services at the St. Joseph Missionary Baptist Church 2901 West Monroe, Chicago, Il 60612.

Mrs. Jakes made her transition 11:35 p.m. Thursday, October 29, 2015, at Mercy Hospital at the age of 81.

Born in Chicago to the parents of Hollis and Lovie Boggus on September 1, 1934, the mother of two, was a retired pre-school Chicago schoolteacher. On June 16, 1957, she parried the “love of her life,” Paul L. Jakes, who nicknamed his wife “Sweet Lorraine.
Educated in Chicago Public Schools, Mrs. Jakes attended the Gladstone Elementary and McKinley High Schools. During her senior year of high school, she participated in the student work-study program where she was employed at Carson Pirie Scott & Company in the Loop. After high school, she attended the Herzl Junior College. She went on to attend the Loop Junior College and Malcolm X College focusing on early childhood development.

After college, she ultimately became the lead teacher at the Marillac House, the Beacon House, the Jessie Thomas Daycare Center, Church of God Daycare and the Montessori Daycare.

Ending a 25-year career in early childhood development, Mrs. Jakes went back to school along with her husband to study Christian education and graduated with a certificate of studies in Christian Education from the Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary.

An accomplished pianist, Mrs. Jakes played in the Baptist church for nearly 70-years.

According to her son, Mrs. Jakes gave her life to Christ when she was just 12-years-old and began playing for Mount Union Baptist Church, under the pastorate of Rev. Dr. C.W. Jones, at the age of 14. She played the piano at New Tabernacle of Faith for 48-years. The National Baptist Convention honored Mrs. Jakes for her longevity in the musical field.

Reflecting on his mother, Rev. Jakes said, “Mama played for some recording artists like Mahalia Jackson and Elder James Lennox. She made her first record at Rev. Mootry’s church, Mount Carmel Baptist Church.

Mrs. Jakes often shared her musical talents by also playing for church worship services, district associations, the Westside Minister’s Conference and the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education where she played before an audience of more than 50,000 people. She also played for the evening radio broadcasts of the mount Carmel Baptist Church.

“My fondest memory of my mom was running in our backyard. I was 17, and I challenged her to a race, and she beat me,” mused Jakes.

His brother, Rev. Martin Jakes, pastor of the Light of the World Church International located in Atlanta, also shared his best memories of his mother. “She was a praying woman.

“Before Paul and I were born, my mother asked the Lord, “If you give me sons, I will give them back to you. She always prayed for her boys. She would call me and say, “Martin I’m praying for you.” She had a prophetic spirit on her,” said Rev. Martin Jakes.

But there was a lighter side to their mother. Rev. Martin Jakes took another trip down memory lane and said, “My mother loved to play with us when we were young. She would run round the house and chase after us. She loved to kiss on us all the time. I have a lot of deep memories.

“My mother was directly responsible for me taking music lessons. She prayed a prayer over me to take music lessons,” said Rev. Martin Jakes. “My mother’s prayer room would be in her favorite chair. There were times I would hear her praying when I was upstairs playing and that continued all the way until her death.

Rev. Paul Jakes added, “Mama would pray all the way from home to church.” His brother added, “She was a praying woman.”

Mrs. Jakes leaves to mourn two sons, Rev. Paul Jakes and Rev. Martin Jakes, and a number of friends and relatives.
Photo: Lorraine Jakes

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

Zina Pierre Ministries Presents: ‘The Breaking Room Encounter’ 2015 Conference With Dr. Jamal Harrison Bryant

Posted by Admin On July - 8 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

The Empowerment Conference will be headlined by host Pastor Zina Pierre with guest speaker, Reverend Dr. Jamal Harrison Bryant, Pastor, Empowerment Temple

Arlington, VA – Hundreds of men and women from across the country and the Washington, DC Metropolitan area are expected to convene at The Westin Crystal City Hotel, 1800 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA on August 27-29, 2015 for “The Breaking Room Encounter 2015 Conference.” This year’s theme, “Positioned for the Promise” will provide conferees with the tools for how to reposition their lives and live an accelerated life.

“Last year’s conference held at the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel was life changing for hundreds of attendees, and I’m believing God for another power shift. From the Conference workshops to the Thursday and Friday evening worship services, (which are free and open to the public), we are preparing conferees to become “movers and shifters” in their communities and their churches, said Pastor Zina Pierre.

Speakers from across the DMV including Dr. Jamal Bryant, as well as numerous pastors, life and faith coaches will provide workshops and worship services focusing on physical and spiritual health and wellness, as well as strengthening families and marriages. We will also collect clothing items and toiletries to be donated to local clothing banks, domestic violence shelters, and transitional housing for homeless women in the DMV.

The Breaking Room is a virtual ministry that reaches over 5,000 men and women across the country and abroad via social media, an interactive website, webinar trainings and conference calls. Our professionally trained team of ministers and lay persons work collectively to empower men and women to understanding their life’s purpose and helping others. This takes place through weekly webinar training, mental and spiritual health, as well as wellness planning and practice.
Through our “Share the Love Outreach” program, TBR members visit and donate blankets to the elderly and the sick, participate in reading programs for the youth, and donate toiletries and clothing to battered women shelters and transitional homes throughout the year. Pastor Zina Pierre will also release her new book, “Your Prayers Matter to God: A 50 Day Strategic Prayer Guide and Devotional” prior to the Conference available through The Breaking Room Store on the Ministry’s website at www.thebreakingroom.com. She will also autograph and sell her book at the Conference.

Visit our website for all information on the conference, and our numerous outreach programs, including the Share the Love Outreach initiative. To book Pastor Zina Pierre or to secure media interviews, contact Dr. Unnia L. Pettus, Director of PR and Marketing at (202) 696-2790 or via e-mail at upettus@thebreakingroom.com. (See attached conference schedule).

The Breaking Room Encounter 2015 Conference Schedule

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Registration: 3:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Opening Worship Service:
7:30 p.m.
Pastor Zina Pierre
The Breaking Room, Lanham, Maryland

Friday, August 28, 2015

Morning Glory Workout: “Building a Better You”
6:30 a.m. – 7:15 a.m.

Strategic Prayer:
8:00 a.m.-8:30 a.m.

Prayer Breakfast:
8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
“Standing in the Midst of Trials”

Workshop I:
9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
“Behind the Veil”

Workshop II:
11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
“The Weight of the Wait”

LUNCH BREAK: 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Midday Worship Service:
1:30 p.m. -2:30 p.m.
Prophet Orin Perry
House of Mandate
Roanoke Rapids, NC

Evening Worship Service:
7:30 p.m.
Rev. Dr. Jamal Harrison Bryant, Pastor
The Empowerment Temple
Baltimore, MD

Saturday, August, 29, 2015

Morning Glory Workout: “Building a Better You”
6:30 a.m. – 7:15 a.m.

Strategic Prayer:
8:00 a.m.-8:30 a.m.

Prayer Breakfast:
8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
“Your Health Matters to God”

Plenary Session:
Real Talk:
9:45 a.m.-10:45 a.m.
“Spiritual DNA of Boaz vs. Ruth, Balancing Healthy Relationships”

10:45 a.m.-11:45 a.m.
“Single, Saved and Scared or Secure?”

Workshop I:
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
“Living an Accelerated Life”

Workshop II:
1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
“Mover and Shifter: Go Get Your Life Back”

Divine Closing Impartation Service:
2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
Pastor Zina Pierre

For more information, contact  Dr. Unnia L. Pettus at 202-696-2790

Photo Captions: Pastor Zina Pierre and Rev. Dr. Jamal Harrison Bryant

Another Chance Church Launches “Month of Blessings”; Will Pay Bills and Give Away a Car

Posted by Admin On June - 11 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

By Chinta Strausberg

Rev. Kenyatta Smith, pastor of the Another Chance Church, 1641 W. 79th St, Tuesday launched his “Month of Blessings” program vowing to pay somebody’s bill and once a month giving away a car to some needy person living in Chicago.

“We are paying somebody’s bill every month and at the end of the month, we are giving away a car. We are six-years in ministry,” said Smith who has been in the ministry for the past 15-years.

“Starting June 14th, we will be paying somebody’s bill and every fourth Sunday we are giving away a pre-owned car,” Smith told this reporter.

“I want to show people that the church can still thrive in the community and be a blessing, to let them know there is help out here and that they do not have to be alone.”

Quoting Romans 15:1-2 from the Message Bible, Pastor Smith said, “1-2Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”

When asked how would he pay for these gifts, Smith said through his church tithes.

For further information, call 312.523.6957; however, to participate in this blessing program, click on these links and follow the instructions:


Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

CTS to Present Spiritual Cantata for Black History Month with Chicago Community Chorus and the Marian Catholic High School Gospel Choir

Posted by Admin On February - 26 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Chicago Theological Seminary’s Center for Black Faith and Life, Charles Shelby Rooks Society and Office of Community Life is pleased to present “Changed My Name,” a cantata for Black History Month on campus Thursday, February 26, 2015. The cantata will share the stories of freedom fighters Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth through song. The performance takes place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26 at CTS in the fourth floor chapel and feature the Chicago Community Chorus under the direction of Dr. Keith Hampton and Marian Catholic High School’s Gospel Choir and Marian Catholic High School’s Gospel Choir.

“We are so excited for the opportunity to have this work performed at CTS, “ said CTS director of community life, Rev. Lisa Goods.  “Changed My Name” so powerfully depicts the lives, the struggles, the resilience and the tenacity of our African American Ancestors that it is a must for all to experience. By combining this great work with a performance by the Marian Gospel Choir we hope to engage a new generation into the legacy of our history as depicted in the genre of spirituals.”

Linda Twine, composer of “Changed My Name,” is a veteran Broadway conductor and has been music director for such hits as Jelly’s Last Jam; Big River; Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music; Ain’t Misbehavin’, Caroline, or Change, The Color Purple, and The Wiz. She was the conductor for the European tour of Andre Heller’s highly acclaimed Body and Soul and the Manaichi Broadcasting System production of Harlem Symphony in Osaka, Japan. Ms. Twine has also been a guest conductor of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Richmond Symphony and Harlem Festival Orchestra. She has conducted for Leslie Uggams, The Persuasions, Ben Vereen, Shirley Horne, Linda Hopkins and many others. As a composer, she has written Sisters of Freedom, which premiered by the Harlem Spiritual Ensemble. She also she served as music supervisor for the off-Broadway production Thunder Knocking on the Door.

About Chicago Community Chorus

The Chicago Community Chorus (CCC), founded in 2003, provides an advanced choral experience to anyone who loves to sing. CCC seeks to reflect the diversity of Chicago by involving singers from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, and now numbers over 130 members presenting at least three performances each year in a variety of venues. CCC’s repertoire spans a wide variety of choral music from gospel, hip-hop and cantata to oratorio, jazz and pop. CCC is under the direction of Artistic Director and Founder Dr. Keith T. Hampton, a renowned organist, performer, composer, educator, church musician and clinician. A specialist in the field of Gospel Music, the North Central American Choral Directors Association in 2010 selected Dr. Keith Hampton as one of the top 25 Contemporary Composers “whose composition, Praise His Holy Name, should be standard repertoire for choirs today and for the next 25 years.”

About Marian Catholic High School

Marian (MCHS) was founded in 1958 by the Dominican Sisters of Springfield on the corners of Ashland Avenue and Joe Orr Road in Chicago Heights, Illinois. The Marian student body has approximately 1,100 students from 70 communities in Illinois and Northwest Indiana. Marian students have been extremely successful academically both before and after graduation.

The Gospel Choir, under the direction of Marian Catholic senior, Julian Goods and supervised by Mrs. Erin Russell works to preach the Gospel Message through song by offering concerts in the community and enhancing MCHS liturgical celebrations with song.

About Chicago Theological Seminary’s Center for the Study of Black Faith & Life (CSBFL)

CSBFL is the first theological center within a denominational seminary to seek connections with the larger Black faith community inclusive of a variety of Black religions and to offer Master and Ph.D. degree concentrations in Black faith and Black life. The CSBFL is dedicated to cultivating the next generation of leaders who will speak with a prophetic voice that lifts high the African American heritage of faith, freedom and justice. The Center, through research, critical examination, theological reflection, and contextual engagement, addresses the forces of oppression and dehumanization for the betterment of academy, church, and community.

About Chicago Theological Seminary

Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS) is a seminary of the United Church of Christ that serves over twenty-five different Christian and non-Christian faith communities by preparing men and women for the next generation of religious leadership, whatever that may be. Founded in 1855, CTS promotes a progressive, forward-looking philosophy and is at the forefront of religious scholarship, interreligious dialogue and transformative leadership. CTS graduates, students, faculty and staff have been advocates for social justice and mercy since the days of the Underground Railroad.

Chicago Theological Seminary helps individuals discern and articulate an evolving faith for the future, whether in ministry, teaching, advocacy, activism, social work or social justice.

AME Church Leaders Cite Black Economic Empowerment as 2015 Goal

Posted by Admin On February - 5 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS



By Hazel Trice Edney

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, he and other protestors had won passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Therefore, his agenda had turned toward the next major issue – economic empowerment for Black people.

Therefore, on April 3, 1968, planning a march on behalf of oppressed sanitation workers, Dr. King told preachers at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tenn., “It’s all right to talk about long white robes over yonder, in all of its symbolism. But ultimately people want some suits and dresses and shoes to wear down here!

“It’s all right to talk about streets flowing with milk and honey, but God has commanded us to be concerned about the slums down here, and his children who can’t eat three square meals a day.

“It’s all right to talk about the new Jerusalem, but one day, God’s preacher must talk about the new New York, the new Atlanta, the new Philadelphia, the new Los Angeles, the new Memphis, Tennessee. This is what we have to do.”

The next day, Dr. King was assassinated.

Nearly 47 years later, as America last month celebrated the King birthday holiday and is now celebrating Black History Month, a group of church leaders appears to be carrying out this Black economic empowerment goal in earnest. Invited to speak to a recent gathering of pastors and leaders of the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church, National Bankers Association President Michael Grant cited the words of human rights champion Paul Robeson:

‘”We realize that our future lies chiefly in our own hands,'” Grant quoted. “‘We know that neither institution nor friends can make a race stand unless it has strength in its own foundation; that races like individuals must stand or fall by their own merit; that to fully succeed they must practice the virtues of self-reliance, self-respect, industry, perseverance, and economy.'”

Grant continued in his own words: “We played a major role in growing America from a small colonial outpost to the greatest industrial giant the world has ever known. We don’t have to argue about our ability to grow wealth. We have made everyone else rich, some filthy rich. Isn’t it time that we finally make our efforts productive for ourselves?”

Grant was keynote speaker during a special session on “Economic Development through the Black Church” during the A.M.E. Church’s 2nd District Mid-year Opening Plenary Session in Raleigh, N.C. late last year. His speech preceded a panel discussion that also included Marie Johns, former deputy administrator at the Small Business Administration; Ron Busby, president/CEO of the U. S. Black Chambers Inc. and Rev. Jonathan Weaver, senior pastor of Greater Mt. Nebo A.M.E. Church in Bowie, Md., and board member of the A.M.E. organization that deals with economic growth and development projects.

Following the forum, Weaver says A.M.E. pastors, led by Bishop William P. DeVeaux, are now poised to carry out a specific plan that they hope will spread to other denominations and ultimately catch fire in other denominations and the Black community throughout 2015.

“Clearly where we are at this point is to actualize and implement what we discussed in Raleigh,” said Weaver in an interview. “The whole thrust was how Black churches can help to empower Black businesses.”

The starting plan, in a nutshell, is for churches located in the A.M.E. Second District – North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and D.C. – to commit to the support of two Black-owned businesses. They are Thomas Morehead, president of a BMW dealership in Sterling, Va. and Donnell Thompson, co-founder/co-owner of RWDT Foods, Inc., a chain of restautrants based in N. Snellville, Ga.

AME church members buying from those two businesses will cause the churches to benefit from those sales; then identify other businesses in and around the states and “replicate this process”, Weaver described. After tracking the sales, initiated by the churches, the hope is that other church districts will get involved and that the movement will spread to other businesses and other churches.

“And we certainly hope and pray that this will become a much larger Black faith effort and we will reach out to the Baptist community, the Church of God and Christ and the list goes on,” Weaver said. “If we’re able to affect a significant change in terms of relationship with Black businesses, can you imagine if we’re able to boost their profit margin and therefore they are going to have to hire more people and therefore they will be reaching back to the faith community. More people will have jobs, they will have better jobs; therefore there will be less frustration, economically, in our community.”

So far, the congregations have been receptive to the idea, Weaver said. “Quite frankly, I’ve not met any resistance thus far.”

In his speech, Grant reminded the audience that a legacy of Black economic develop was at the core of the founding of the A.M.E. Church.

“I agree with that great A.M.E. historiographer, Dr. Dennis C. Dickerson, who said that the history of the African Methodist Episcopal Church – founded – by Bishop Richard Allen – reflects the black liberationist narrative of African – American history,” Grant said. “Nearly eight decades before the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Allen, a free man, was already promoting Black economic development. So it is fitting that we come to his church today with an urgent message: The time for Americans of African descent to take our place at the round table of economic opportunity is now. With each passing day, the price of not having a well – thought out economic agenda for Black America continues to extract a toll and degrade our position in this country and throughout the diaspora.”

Grant, who last year received the U. S. Department of Commerce’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his Black business advocacy, ticked off statistics that undergird the need for an economic movement to support Black-owned businesses and Black-owned banks:

There are currently 1.9 million Black-owned businesses in America, but only about one in 20 have more than one employee and less than 2 percent have annual gross receipts of more than $1,000,000.

In terms of relative wealth, White America is 20 times richer than Black America, according to a recent Pew Report.

In the 1960’s, we had 60 Black-owned banks. Today, that number has dwindled to only 30. What is insane about this tragic loss is this: The bank is the only institution in our community that can leverage or multiply dollars 7, 8, 9 or 10 times. That means for every $1,000,000 dollars of invested capital in these banks, they are able to loan out 7, 8, 9 or $10 million for economic development, business growth and job creation.

Grant said African-Americans lost significant ground in business ownership after integration, largely because African-Americans were no longer forced to support each other.

“As long as we were forced to trade with each other and barter with each other, our businesses (small as they were) thrived. But in our minds, we were never quite good enough. We had internalized the lie about our lack of inherent worth,” he said. “When the doors of integration gave us the long – awaited pass to wine and dine with our former oppressors, we enthusiastically abandoned our own in search of an elusive White acceptance. We believed then – and many of us still do – that association would bring on assimilation.”

Dr. King concluded on April 3, 1968, the eve of his assassination: “We’ve got to stay together and maintain unity. You know, whenever Pharaoh wanted to prolong the period of slavery in Egypt, he had a favorite, favorite formula for doing it. What was that? He kept the slaves fighting among themselves. But whenever the slaves get together, something happens in Pharaoh’s court, and he cannot hold the slaves in slavery. When the slaves get together, that’s the beginning of getting out of slavery. Now let us maintain unity.”

Photo Captions:

Photo 1: Rev. Jonathan Weaver

Photo 2: National Bankers Association President Michael Grant, U.S. Black Chambers Inc. President Ron Busby, and A.M.E. board member Rev. Jonathan Weaver discuss a new plan for economic development through the Black Church.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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