2020 was a bleak year for our country, not only because of the physical, emotional, and spiritual toll of the pandemic and the associated isolation and economic collapse, but also because it brought into stark relief the racial divisions that still plague our nation, and how much work remains before all in America can experience the unalienable rights endowed by our Creator.
Vanderbloemen, the leading executive search firm for Christian organizations and family offices, believes that all Americans would benefit from a greater understanding of impact the Black Church has made on American history and culture.
To celebrate Black History Month, for the next five weeks beginning today, Thursday, February 4, Vanderbloemen is honoring the Black Church with a series of blogs and podcasts that feature church leaders from all Christian streams who will chronicle the historic rise and significant accomplishments of the Black Church and its congregations. The series focuses on black men and women who have contributed both to the nation and to God's greater kingdom through curated conversations about critical events. It will help listeners understand and appreciate the conception and development of the Black Church and its continuing role in shaping American culture. And in so doing, it will help the entire church love and understand each other more fully.
Podcast episodes are being released in chronological order so listeners can take a historic journey that brings the experiences of the Black Church to life, from its inception to the present day. The series paints a picture of defining moments in various time periods, such as
- The Black Church's pre-slavery origins
- The era of African slaves coming to America
- The missionary work conducted in Africa from 1750 to 1850
- The emancipation era
- The civil rights era
- The death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- The segregation and gentrification of black communities
- The place of the black church in today's racially charged atmosphere.
Chantel McHenry, Vanderbloemen's director of special initiatives and operations said,
"When we highlight one part of the church, it sheds more light on the whole church. Our American history is rarely told from the perspective of African Americans because it can be an uncomfortable narrative for the majority population in our nation to hear and understand. Vanderbloemen believes the series will benefit all Americans, and particularly American churches for several reasons. First, the brutal legacy of slavery and segregation has yet to be fully explored by people of all ethnicities. Second, it allows us as Americans to gain clarity about the gaps between the ideals and realities of the American experience. And third, gaining a deeper knowledge of the African American experience provides insights for all Americans into the problems we face as a nation."
- Dr. Eric M. Washington, associate professor of the history department and director of African and African diaspora studies at Calvin University
- Dr. Anthea Butler, associate professor of religious studies and graduate chair in the department of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania
- Dr. Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan, professor of religion at Shaw University Divinity School, Raleigh, NC, and ordained elder in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
- Pastor John Faison, senior pastor of Watson Grove Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee
- Kermit Moss, pastor of Christ Church UMC in Paterson, New Jersey, and a PhD candidate at Princeton Theological Seminary.
Vanderbloemen invites everyone to celebrate Black History Month and learn how to love and serve the whole church better. The podcast episodes can be found at The Vanderbloemen Leadership podcast. Listeners may sign up to receive alerts for new episodes of "The History and Evolution of the Black Church."