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Honoring Black History Month at LPTS

Feb 24, 2009
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary has been honoring Black History Month with special events, including a week-long focus on African American Worship.

The month-long celebration kicked off with the sharing of African American quotations. For the past several years, faculty and students, as part of the on-campus Cultural Diversity Committee, have shared inspiring and thought-provoking quotations of African Americans through daily campus email distribution. As the annual February tradition has continued, individuals from outside the campus community have requested to be included in the email distribution list.

On February 12, the Academic Support Center (ASC) hosted the annual African American Read-in. ASC is the Seminary’s on-campus service that assists students, faculty, and staff with the various aspects of academic writing, critical analysis, study skills, and reading. Kathy Mapes, director of ASC, and Sherry Arconti, who serves as a tutor and instructor in conjunction with ASC, coordinated the event as part of the National African American Read-In, first sponsored in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers in English.

Members of the Seminary community—faculty, students, and employees—signed up to read for 5-minute increments or longer throughout the day. Each one read from a personal selection or from one of the books provided by ASC. All of the reading material was written by African Americans.

The African American Read-in also is endorsed by the International Reading Association with a goal to make the celebration of African American literacy a traditional part of Black History Month activities. More than a million readers of all ethnic groups, in the United States and around the world, have participated.

During the week of February 16, the Caldwell Chapel Worship Resource Center celebrated African American Worship. On February 18, senior Master of Divinity students Darvin Adams and Craig Tuck preached co-sermons on the same scripture text, 2 Corinthians 5:1-10. Adams, pastor of St. James Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Paducah, Ky., delivered his sermon entitled, “Having an Other-worldly Kind of Faith: The Black Death Experience,” followed by Tuck, a member of the United Methodist Church, who preached, “Beyond Our Groan.”

The Rev. Dr. F. Bruce Williams, senior pastor of Bates Memorial Baptist Church in Louisville, was the guest preacher on Thursday, February 19, as part of the sermon and lunch series being offered by the Worship Resource Center at Louisville Seminary. Dr. Williams has been honored and recognized for his outstanding achievements in preaching and urban ministry. His sermon, “The Marks of an Irresistible Church,” was featured in The African American Pulpit (Summer 2006), and he was included in the inaugural edition of Who’s Who in Black Louisville. In 2007, Williams received the Alumni Effective Ministry Award from United Theological Seminary for his dedication to ministry and leadership within the community and was inducted into the Presbyterian Community Center (Louisville, Ky.) Hall of Fame.

The sermon and lunch series is supported by a Worship Renewal Grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and directed by Louisville Seminary Professor Claudio Carvalhaes. Over the course of the academic year, the series will explore the relationship between worship and immigration, persons with disabilities, African Americans, women, children, mission, and technology. Guest preachers and worship leaders work collaboratively to shape each service that is followed by a luncheon during which the worshippers may engage the preacher in continued conversation.

On Friday, February 20, Professor Johnny B. Hill preached on “The World House: The Beloved Community as a New Global Vision for Peace and Justice” (Isaiah 65:17-25 and Matthew 25:31-40). Hill, who is Assistant Professor of Theology at Louisville Seminary, co-led with faculty colleague Frances S. Adeney, the Seminary’s first travel seminar to South Africa. The 21-day trip helped students and participants explore themes of reconciliation, human rights, political theology, and forgiveness.

This Friday, February 27, Professor Scott Williamson will conclude the month-long celebration with his sermon, “Wilderness of Imagination” (Mark 1:9-15) at the 10 a.m. service. Williamson is the Robert H. Walkup Professor of Theological Ethics and author of The Narrative Life: The Moral and Religious Thought of Frederick Douglass (Mercer University Press, 2002).

Many sermons presented in the Frank H. and Fannie W. Caldwell Chapel are recorded and posted to the Louisville Seminary website for downloading. You are invited to browse the Chapel Sermons Blog (http://caldwellchapel.blogspot.com/) for these and other inspiring sermons.

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