Blessing of the Elders will pay tribute to the faith-filled legacy of the Black Church and its historical and modern-day figures whose contributions have been foundational to America’s faith, culture and history.
Harry Hargrave, CEO of Museum of the Bible said, “Our hope for Blessing of the Elders is to honor—past and present—Black pastors who have impacted America with their significant ministry.”
The red carpet, invitation-only celebration will be led by a significant cast of presenters and gospel singers, including co-hosts Erica Campbell and Bebe Winans, Ambassador Andrew Young, Pastor Marvin L. Winans, Tramaine Hawkins, The Clark Sisters, Fred Hammond, Wintley Phipps, Lecrae, and Denzel and Paulette Washington.
Honorees on June 23 will include seven of America’s most well-known pastors and leaders: Dr. A.R. Bernard, Bishop Charles E. Blake, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Dr. Tony Evans, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Bishop Vashti McKenzie and Dr. John Perkins.
“The remarkable history of the Black Church in America demonstrates a biblical faith under pressure that should inspire people of any generation,” remarked Dr. A.R. Bernard, Chairman of the Blessing of the Elders Steering Committee. “We are elated that the indelible mark of our community on the fabric of American society is finally being acknowledged.”
Steve Green, Museum of the Bible co-founder and chairman of the board, stated, “I’m thrilled that the inaugural event for Blessing of the Elders is being held at Museum of the Bible. The Black Church has a unique and rich history in our country, leaning on the Bible for strength, courage and perseverance, and this powerful story of faith needs to be told. We are privileged to play a part in this pivotal event on June 23.”
This year’s inaugural event will also tell the story of historically significant figures from the Black Church, such as Rev. Richard Allen, William Sheppard, Pastor Charles H. Mason, Nannie Helen Burroughs, Amanda Berry Smith, John Jasper and William J. Seymour.
Blessing of the Elders emerged from discussions between influential Black pastors in America and the Museum of the Bible Chief Relations Officer Dr. Jon Sharpe.
“The goal,” said Sharpe, “is to highlight the significant history of the Black Church and the indispensable and symbiotic role the Bible played in this powerful American story. We can’t find our way to a hopeful future without understanding our past.”
Blessing of the Elders is guided by a steering committee whose vision statement reads: “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.”
Blessing of the Elders’ June 23rd celebration is executive produced by Living Hope Productions with multimedia presentations by Dynamic Life.