The Pentecostal Theological Seminary and Black Ministries Department of the Church of God are partnering to host “Awareness Celebration: Strength to Love,” in observance of Black History Month which continues through February.
“This is for people who are mothers and brothers and sisters and fathers who want to come together and discuss what we can do to have a more humane, caring and just church and society,” said Steve Land, PTS president.
The seminary has never hosted a black history awareness celebration of this magnitude.
“One of the things I have seen, as a new person working with the seminary, is an openness to deal with sensitive issues,” said Ken Hill, Black Ministries coordinator. “They come to the table where they say, ‘Let me here you,’ and then place action behind their words.”
There is a myth to the February celebration of black history that it is just about celebration without action, Hill said.
The seminary and Black Ministries are attempting to build trust through intentional actions and relationship, said Ken Davis, PTS vice president of institutional advancement.
The Cleveland-based awareness celebration next week is a step in the right direction.
Hill, Davis and Land said it is time to deal with uncomfortable topics in the open.
“Let’s deal with them openly before the public. Let’s not just have them behind seminary doors. That is why we are having lectures and a panel [on race relations],” Hill said. “We want an open discussion on Wednesday.”
Continued Hill, “I believe the seminary is taking a bold step into the future on what we need to do in any church.”
Direct conversation is needed to address these issues, Hill said.
“... We are embracing some social issues that are still evident in our communities in the U.S. We are not dealing with them, [Americans] are talking around them,” Hill said.
According to Land, the church does not have a social ethic, rather the church is a social ethic.
“You can empower people with faith and a sense of God’s presence and righteousness. You do not just keep people victimized and dependent on you,” Land said.
Continued Land, “The point is not to be nice to poor people, it is to care. It is to create a sense of community with people who are unlike you. It goes deeper. This is real fellowship.”
Events will begin Tuesday and continue through Thursday, Feb. 14. Speakers for the event will be Bishop Brandon B. Porter, Dr. Wallace J. Sibley, Dr. Michael Reynolds and Dr. Wayne Solomon.
n Porter is the jurisdictional prelate of Tennessee Central Jurisdiction of the Church of God in Christ. He pastors Greater Community Temple COGIC and has a message of spiritual empowerment and family enrichment. He will speak at 11 a.m. in the Seminary Chapel on Tuesday.
n Sibley is the third assistant general overseer. He has served on the executive council, a state overseer, and was the Black Ministries chairman. He has written “A Passion for Evangelism,” “Praying Like Jesus,” and “Evangelizing the Black Community.” He will speak at 7 p.m. as a part of the Celebration Service held in the North Cleveland Church of God Dixon Chapel.
n Reynolds is an associate professor of Christian ministries at Trinity College and affiliate professor of pastoral theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity. He currently serves as president of the New Life Urban Educational center. He will lead a lecture on race at 11 a.m. on Wednesday at the PTS Knight Conference Hall.
n Solomon is a member of the International Divisional Board of Education of the Church of God. He has ministered across the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Asia and Africa. He will speak at 11 a.m. Feb. 14 at the Seminary Chapel.