The Pastor’s Pen: June 10, 2018

Today, we thank God for two outstanding ministries of our church. First, our Children’s Ministry: our young people are active as ushers, in Sunday school and worship services and beyond.  They are valuable contributors to all aspects of our life at Shiloh.

We need to promote and support our youth as young people around the world are experiencing tremendous challenges. Sex trafficking is one of the most despicable injustices imposed on our children here in the U.S. and globally.  Too often, in countries where there is abject poverty, wealthy nations fund the sex trafficking by brokering with families to sell the children as a way to insure their family’s survival. Although the United Nations has attempted to address this horror, wealthy nations such as the U.S., Europe, China, and Japan close their eyes to this burgeoning disgusting practice, and do little to impede or thwart its vile movement.

Another horror experienced in war-torn nations that has also invaded our nation is gun violence.  Too many children are faced with the terrifying realities wrought by gun-toting offenders. In warring societies, it is the crackling of automatic weapons that turns streets into killing fields. In the U.S., it is too often our schools that become the scenes of mass killings.

And let us be clear; mass shootings such as the one in Parkland, Florida, attracted the headlines instantaneously, but throughout all the major cities, including Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore and DC, gun violence from drug turf wars, that too often put our children in the crosshairs as collateral damage, do not equally attract the headlines. Education Secretary Betsy DeVoss has announced a new initiative on school safety; however, it does not address the proliferation of automatic weapon access in our country. While the government remains silent, too many of our children face gun violence every day.

We applaud the young people of Shiloh, their parents, and advisors for keeping Shiloh a sanctuary where they can clearly recognize values and experience the lifesaving power of Jesus Christ.

Secondly, we thank God for the continued wonderful work of our Shiloh Scholarship Committee. Today, they will announce the recipients of this year’s scholarships and host a reception for the graduates and their families in Heritage Hall following the 10:55 worship service. Many of us know and understand that education is key to overcoming societal bigotry. Carter G. Woodson in his book, The Miseducation of the Negro, made clear that to deal with social and economic inequity, we must arm ourselves with comprehensive education. Many people of color, especially, have understood that rigorous training in the basics of English, science and math, and the knowledge of sociology and history, is key to overcoming our people’s shattered self-image and paving the way to freedom and equality. Our Scholarship Committee, through its diligent efforts, provides monetary encouragement that helps our young people go forward with their pursuit of education.

On this National Children’s Day and Graduates and Scholarship Sunday, we commend all who work tirelessly to keep Shiloh’s scholarship program one of the most effective of its kind of any Black church in the nation. God bless and keep our Scholarship Committee as they continue to do such exemplary work on behalf of the youth of our church.