The Museum of the Bible is to honor the spiritual legacy of the Black church and its contributions to American faith, culture and history at a one-night gala June 23.
“Blessing of the Elders,” a red carpet, invitation-only event, will be held at the museum’s World Stage Theater from 7–10 p.m. ET in Washington, D.C.
The initiative will feature pastors whose ministry has inspired millions and created pivotal impact. Seven of the country’s most prominent African American pastors and leaders are among the honorees:
- Bishop T.D. Jakes, founder of The Potter’s House, a non-denominational, multicultural church and worldwide humanitarian organization based in Dallas, Texas
- Tony Evans, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas
- Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., pastor of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles
- Pastor Shirley Caesar, gospel singer who was once part of The Caravans gospel music group
- Rev. A.R. Bernard, senior pastor of the Christian Cultural Church in Brooklyn, New York, and chairman of the Blessing of the Elders steering committee
- Bishop Vashti McKenzie, interim president and general secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.
- John Perkins, co-founder of the John and Vera Mae Perkins Foundation for Justice, Reconciliation & Community Development.
Museum of the Bible CEO Harry Hargrave, says, “Our hope for Blessing of the Elders is to honor—past and present—Black pastors who have impacted America with their significant ministry.” The mission of the project is “to invite all people to engage with the transformative power of the Bible,” and “to highlight the significant history of the Black Church and the indispensable and symbiotic role the Bible played in this powerful American story.”
Erica Campbell and Bebe Winans will co-host the event, which will feature well-known gospel singers and special guests including Ambassador Andrew Young, Pastor Marvin L. Winans, Tramaine Hawkins, the Clark Sisters, Fred Hammond, Lecrae, Wintley Phipps, and Denzel and Paulette Washington.
“The remarkable history of the Black Church in America demonstrates a biblical faith under pressure that should inspire people of any generation,” Rev. Bernard says. “We are elated that the indelible mark of our community on the fabric of American society is finally being acknowledged.”
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