Letter from the BSK President

The “Good News” of the gospel is sorely needed in our time. We must act on the good news that all persons are valuable, treasured creations of God.

Black lives have not been treated as valuable, and the church has for too long been silent, or worse, complicit, in treating race as evidence of worth. How can Christians and our churches make a difference in times of injustice and crisis?

We are called to share the good news that Christ taught, lived and died for all of us — including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

I believe the church’s voice can help bring change as we advocate against police brutality, challenge laws that disproportionately place black men in prison, and work to demand an economy that includes opportunity and fairness for our black brothers and sisters. We owe more than words to these descendants of slaves who worked without payment to build our country.

BSK has been transformed by the welcome, hospitality and trust that the community at Simmons College, and the people of the National Baptist Convention of America, International, Inc. have offered to us. But most of all, we have been shaped by their strong faith in God.

Our efforts to form leaders who are informed about black history and eager to be part of God’s work of racial justice continue this Fall. Our new M.Div. curriculum requires all students to take a course in black church studies and womanist theology (theology from the perspective of black women). Our courses in theology, mission, biblical studies and history all have been reworked to include black scholarship, thought and history. Last year, we added Dr. Lewis Brogdon to our faculty with a focus on preaching and black church studies.

Last week, I was talking with our Academic Dean, Dr. Dalen Jackson, wondering about the sort of response BSK should offer. We wanted to do more than craft a statement — we wanted to do something that could help generate change. As we gathered our faculty and staff, the idea for BSK’s Flourish Center to offer a special workshop series emerged. Starting June 16, this series seeks to help ministers and lay leaders be better informed and equipped to lead churches to participate in God’s work of justice. Details can be found here. I hope you and other leaders in your congregation will participate. We must not look away in this moment.

As God observes the church in 2020, what does God yearn for us to do? Where is God’s Spirit at work for change and transformation (beginning with each of us)?

May we all be seeking God’s wisdom as we act with courage and solidarity to create a world where all of God’s creations can flourish.

Peace,