The Pastor’s Pen: February 23, 2020

On this Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Sunday, we welcome to our pulpit, renowned theologian and preacher, Rev. Frank A. Thomas, Ph.D. Dr. Thomas is the Director of the Ph.D. Program in African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric and the Nettie Sweeney and Hugh Th. Miller Professor of Homiletics Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana. We thank God for this preacher and teacher of the gospel. We look forward to his insightful and spiritual presentations.

We thank God also for the continuing good work of our HBCU Council. Over the years, the Council has helped to keep us critically aware of the important role of HBCUs in the African American community and across this nation. HBCU graduates have blazed trails in civil rights, made great contributions in science, law, and medicine and developed entrepreneurial and business enterprises. Unfortunately, HBCUs have struggled with the realities of racism and prejudice that have forced these schools to function from their inception with insufficient funds, inadequate support, and the misperception of many in the majority community that anything Black is inherently inferior. We are proud of our HBCU Council here at Shiloh. It has taken root in our congregation and become a model for churches around the nation.

As we have observed the nation’s politics in the last few years, the notion of a post-racial America is nothing but a myth. The doors of economic opportunity remain boarded up and nailed shut. Although the success of the Civil Rights Movement made it possible for African American students to attend predominately white institutions, also known as PWIs, the nurturing and equipping of Black students to face the challenges of a racialized world have always happened best in HBCUs.

 In 2002, the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC) under the leadership of the late C. Mackey Daniels, encouraged PNBC churches to intentionally support the work of our HBCUs. I brought this notion back to Shiloh, shared it with J. Otis Harris, Jr., and David Hayes, who immediately began to develop an HBCU Council. From meager beginnings, this ministry has grown and flourished into what it is today. We must never forget that without HBCUs, the history of race in this country would be taught by the victors and not the victims. Also, the extraordinary contributions of such stalwarts as Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Thurgood Marshall, and Dr. Charles Drew might never have been fully appreciated or valued without the teachings from HBCUs.

Thank you, HBCU Council, for your tireless efforts to promote the health and life of our Historically Black Colleges and Universities. To God be the glory!