From the General Presbyter
Black History Month
In 1807, the Presbytery of the Union Synod of Tennessee recommended to the General Assembly in Lexington, Kentucky, that a “slave should be licensed to preach among colored people.” Enter the Rev. John Gloucester, who founded the First African Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia in 1807.
I guess that was a good idea at the time, because according to records of the Mississippi Presbytery, emancipated slaves had absolutely no use for “Presbyterian Evangelism,” since the preachers were the very ones who supported slavery and the separation of the races.
This should not surprise any of us because there are folks, Black, White and in between that seem to have no use for our evangelism. But for purposes of our celebration of Black History, I offer this: diversity is more than getting Black “butts” in the pew or a Black face on a committee Zoom call. It is about getting to know folks for who they are, sharing stories and experiences, embracing cultural differences, and insisting on shared leadership and practice. It’s about seeing color, in all its beauty and complexities, as a necessary part of creation, not just an antithesis to the dominate culture.
We are Presbyterians, we are loved, we are the body of Christ. Celebrate with me!