The late Rev. James Bevel, an adviser to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., referred to preachers like Father Divine (pictured) as “religious entertainers.” (St. Louis American File Photo) Has the African-American Christian church lost its influence? Has it become weaker? Do some pastors spend too much time hiding in their churches? These are questions many people are asking, so it is time to examine and consider the power the Black church and Black preacher have had on our lives and history.
CHANGING OF THE GUARD—Rev. Dr. J. Van Alfred Winsett, pastor emeritus, hands over the church’s bible to Rev. Dr. Vincent K. Campbell. For more than a year, Ebenezer Baptist Church, in the historic Hill District, was without a senior pastor after the retirement of their longtime shepherd Rev. Dr. J. Van Alfred Winsett in May 2012. But the church that has overcome many obstacles, including two fires and a major rebuild, now welcomes new leadership into their next era under the direction of their new pastor-Rev. Dr. Vincent K. Campbell of Nashville, Tenn.
BISHOP ALLYSON D. NELSON ABRAMS by Donald JamesThis article is part two in a series exploring sexual relationships in the African American clergy. Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013 was not a typical day of worship for Bishop Allyson D. Nelson Abrams. For the first time in more than five years, she no longer stood in the pulpit as pastor of Zion Progress Baptist Church, near downtown Detroit, to preach one of her patented fiery sermons that the congregation had become accustom to hearing.
Bishop Allyson D. Nelson Abrams by Donald James Bishop Allyson D. Nelson Abrams, outgoing secretary of the Detroit Council of Baptist Pastors, is a Christian spiritual leader, national speaker, theological teacher and author who has built a strong reputation in African American faith-based communities around Detroit and across the nation. For more than five years, she has served as pastor of Zion Progress Baptist Church, located in downtown Detroit. On Friday, October 18, 2013, Bishop Abrams officially stepped down as pastor. Abrams’ decision to leave Zion Progress is based on the revelation she made to her congregation on Oct. 6. She announced that she is now in a same-sex marriage.