Honoring the Black Church in America

Blessing of the Elders

Blessing of the Elders is an initiative of Museum of the Bible to honor the rich history of the Black church in America by telling the inspiring and faith-filled story of the remarkable impact it has had on our spiritual life and culture. Most importantly, we desire to give honor where honor is overdue. 

This vision emerged from a discussion between several Black pastors and Jon Sharpe, Museum of the Bible’s chief relations officer, who has long believed that spiritual renewal for America could come through the Black church. However, this initiative could not take place without the strong and active participation of a steering committee of African American pastors and leaders who are driven by a love for the Bible and its impact on their lives and the lives of the people they pastor and lead. 

The steering committee’s vision statement for this initiative is: “We seek to honor Black pastors across the United States who have been committed to their call of preaching the gospel and caring for the souls of humankind. We acknowledge and appreciate their exceptional contribution as vitally important to the development of America’s biblical values.” 

Spreading the Vision of Blessing of the Elders

Starting in September of 2021, the steering committee has traveled across the United States, meeting with brother and sister bishops and pastors of Black churches to spread the message of Blessing of the Elders. They have gathered in: Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Las Vegas, Detroit, Birmingham, Orlando, Dallas, Charleston, Washington, DC, Richmond, and Atlanta. This list continues to grow as the initiative spreads to communities and leaders in the Black church across the country.

The steering committee consists of Bishop Claude Alexander, Rev. A. R. Bernard Sr., Bishop Dale Bronner, Dr. Jacqueline Del Rosario, Dr. Tony Evans, Pastor John Jenkins, Pastor Tony Lowden, Mr. Jon Ponder, Mr. Dimas Salaberrios, Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer, Pastor James Ward, and Mr. Roland Warren. Learn more about our steering committee members here.

Our Initiative Moving Forward

As Blessing of the Elders grows, we propose to introduce two new projects.

I. The first is an expanded exhibit on Museum of the Bible’s Impact of the Bible Floor to highlight and delve deeper into the inspiring story of the history, narrative, and impact of the African American church. The proposal also extends to the creation of a traveling exhibit to bring this story to cities across the US.

II. The second proposal is the creation of a feature-length film to showcase the journey of the Blessing of the Elders Initiative and the history of the Black church in America. This documentary will demonstrate the transformative power of the Bible, even in the face of human failure and pain.

Recognitions & Awards: Blessing of the Elders Celebration

On June 23, Blessing of the Elders will recognize six outstanding pastors whose impact and ministry have been remarkable. They are examples to all and an inspiration to the generations to come. They have been faithful to the preaching of the Bible and ministering to the souls in their care. By awarding these accomplished leaders, we are upholding and enshrining their spiritual legacy as they pass the baton to the next generation of preachers, teachers, and pastors who are to come. The honorees are: 

Pastor A. R. Bernard 

Bishop Charles E. Blake

Pastor Shirley Caesar

Dr. Tony Evans

Bishop T. D. Jakes

Bishop Vashti McKenzie

Dr. John M. Perkins

We invite you to be a part of Blessing of the Elders by supporting this vision and spreading the word among your churches and organizations. 

Learn more about the June 23 event and the pastors being honored by clicking the button below.