Jamal Bryant

Jamal Bryant, then senior pastor of Empowerment Temple AME Church in Baltimore and now senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, helped feed people on the street during the Baltimore unrest of 2015 sparked by the police killing of Freddie Gray.

Photo by Lawrence Bryant

Throughout February, New Life in Christ Church in O’Fallon, Illinois, will celebrate Black History Month with a special sermon and lecture series that examines the current state of race relations within the United States through the lens of the Bible.

The series, White Privilege/Black Pride – A Biblical Perspective, will feature nationally and locally known speakers who will provide diverse views on the topic each Sunday during the church’s 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. services and during its Wednesday evening service which begins at 7 p.m.

The choirs from Friendly Temple Baptist Church and Central Baptist Church in St. Louis and The Impact Church in East St. Louis will also perform during the month’s various services.

“Our country is in a space that begs for clarity on the issue of White Privilege/Black Pride,” said Bishop Geoffrey V. Dudley Sr., senior pastor at New Life in Christ Church. “In recent years, our churches, which once were the spiritual and moral voice for civil rights, as a collective body, have been silent on volatile issues that impact our congregations. As a result, the wrong voices have filled the space.”

More than 150 years following enactment of the 13th Amendment which abolished slavery and nearly 57 years since the 1964 Civil Rights Act was signed into law, a 2019 Pew Research Center Poll says six in 10 Americans believe race relations in the United States are bad. Additionally, of the more than 6,000 respondents who participated in the survey, most indicated its now more common for people to express racist or racially insensitive views, while more than four in 10 say it’s more acceptable today to do so. When it comes to educational and employment success, African Americans, more than any other group felt their race negatively impacted their ability to get ahead whereas whites felt they were most likely helped because of their race.

“We hope those attending this timely community event will learn how to navigate their lives in the current cultural and political climate we live in, while also understanding the biblical point of view on this important issue,” Dudley said.

The White Privilege/Black Pride lecture and sermon series will feature the following speakers:

• Wednesday, February 5 – Jamal Bryant, senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta and a social justice advocate who’s active in the Black Lives Matter movement

• Sunday, February 9 – Bishop Geoffrey V. Dudley Sr., senior pastor, New Life in Christ Church and founder of the O’Fallon, Illinois, chapter of the NAACP

• Wednesday, February 12 – the Rev. Traci Blackmon, associate general minister of Justice & Local Church Ministries for the United Church of Christ and senior pastor of Christ the King United Church of Christ in Florissant

• Sunday, February 16 – the Rev. Starsky Wilson, president and CEO of the Deaconess Foundation, board chair for the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy and former co-chairman of the Ferguson Commission, an independent16-member body appointed to address the social and economic conditions highlighted by protests following the shooting death of Michael Brown

• Wednesday, February 19 – Minister Geoffrey Dudley II, young adult pastor, New Life in Christ Church, O’Fallon

• Sunday, February 23 – Bishop Geoffrey V. Dudley Sr.

• Wednesday, February 26 – the Rev. William Barber, II, national board member of the NAACP and senior pastor, Greenleaf Christian Church, Goldsboro, N.C.

With a membership of more than 2,000 members, New Life in Christ Church – located at 689 Scott Troy Rd. in O’Fallon, Illinois – is considered one of the fastest-growing congregations in the Metro East.

For more information about the White Privilege/Black Pride, a Biblical perspective lecture and sermon series, call 618-632-6542 or visit www.nlinic.org.

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