Tag Archives: African American

Virginia Church Commemorates Arrival of First Africans in English North America

By Carl Stagner

Four hundred years have passed since the first recorded African landing in English-occupied North America. It was in 1619 at Point Comfort, now part of Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia, that twenty-some Africans from Angola stepped off the transatlantic White Lion and set the stage for the slaves of the subsequent two-and-a-half centuries of American history. Joynes Road Church of God in Hampton has played an integral role to-date in the official commemoration of the pivotal events that unfolded so long ago. Though the special activities and events began during Black History Month this year, community and social involvement is nothing new for Joynes Road. Pastor Simeon Green provides a closer look. Continue reading

CHOG Congregations Celebrate Black History Month

Church of God of East New York dressed for Black History Month.

By Carl Stagner

Cultural traditions and observances have long been a part of the church calendar. While they don’t demand acknowledgement in worship settings, they’ve been used effectively to establish connections between Christ and community, and between the present-day congregation and faithful servants of the past. From “Souper Bowl” Sunday to fall (Halloween?) festivals, from Labor Day picnics to celebrations of God and country (Independence Day), celebrations of otherwise secular occasions are often used by the church to reach neighbors, encourage fellowship, and/or put into practice biblical values. Each February, numerous Church of God congregations celebrate Black History Month and, in so doing, build bridges between church and society, often shining a light on topics sometimes overlooked or ignored by popular culture. Three Church of God congregations in the Northeast offer a snapshot of Black History Month in the Movement. Continue reading

Black Woman Pastor Takes White Kansas Congregation to New Heights

Presephoni (center, middle row) with part of the congregation.

By Carl Stagner

Liberal, Kansas, never saw it coming. The city of only about 20,000 people couldn’t have imagined the day. Only 3.8 percent of the population is African American, and the new pastor of South Church of God is both black and a woman. Presephoni Fuller is, in fact, the first black pastor in the ninety-year history of the church. Still, Pastor Presephoni takes it all in stride. She doesn’t have time to ponder the uniqueness of her situation; she’s too busy reaching deeper into the community and taking the Kansas congregation to new heights. Continue reading

Church of God Pastor Becomes City’s First Black, First Woman Mayor

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By Carl Stagner

“Sixty years ago, Rosa Parks sat down so I could stand up today.” Pastor Rochelle Robinson’s words reflect a strong sense of both gratitude and accomplishment for her historic win. She never set out to make a name for herself or capture the attention of the national media. All she wanted to do was serve God and her community. But when the votes were tallied in the runoff election on December 1, Rochelle Robinson became the first African American and first female ever to be elected mayor of Douglasville, Georgia. Continue reading

Celebrating the Message of Martin Luther King Jr.

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By Carl Stagner

Martin Luther King Day 2013 is observed in the United States on Monday, January 21. The civil rights activist for whom the holiday is named not only preached the gospel but also championed peace and reconciliation in a world of incredible diversity. King’s message of hope was not just for African Americans, but for all people. On the Sunday before Martin Luther King Day, and through the month of February, churches recognize the achievements of King and other African Americans who have contributed to the church and society. Continue reading