Black History Month is celebrated at Episcopal Church Center

February 4, 2008

In recognition of February's designation as Black History Month, the Episcopal Church's Office of Black Ministries has invited black clergy and laity to the Episcopal Church Center every Tuesday during the month to officiate at the daily 12:10 p.m. Eucharist service in the Chapel of Christ the King and lead a lecture series from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on the legacy of black people in the Episcopal Church.

"The planned observance of Black History Month this year at the Episcopal Church Center in New York may be the first of its kind, and enjoys the full support of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori," said the Rev. Angela S. Ifill, missioner of the Office of Black Ministries. "Through Black History Month each year we have the opportunity to continue to raise the importance of the need for all of America to serve all people in a way that is respectful, equal and just."

The Church Center is located at 815 Second Avenue, between 43rd and 44th streets, in New York City.

The schedule is as follows:

February 5
Chapel: The Rev. Petero Sabune, chaplain, Sing Sing Prison
Lecture: The Rev. Petero Sabune: Forgive Us or Forgive Them (The first is from the Lord's Prayer and the second is from the cross)

February 12
Chapel: The Rev. Allister Rawlins, rector, St. George’s Episcopal Church in Hempstead, New York
Lecture: Jane R. Cosby, deputy to General Convention: "To Be or Not to Be -- A Black Episcopalian"

February 19
Chapel: The Rev. Jayne Oasin, Social Justice Officer, Office of Peace and Justice Ministries
Lecture: The Rev. Dr. Sandye Wilson, rector, St. Andrew and Holy Communion Church, South Orange, New Jersey: "What Will History Say About Us; African Americans In This New Century"

February 26
Chapel: The Rev. Darryl James, rector, Grace Episcopal Church, Jamaica, New York
Lecture: The Rev. Benjamin Musoke-Lubega, Trinity Church, Wall Street: "Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters" Amos 5:24

"The evening lecturers are prominent and well-known national leaders in the church who are respected for their own contributions to the work of the broader church, in the black community, and in their local ministries," said Ifill. "A crucial component of the work of the Black Ministries office, not to be minimized, is the ongoing effort to help promote the value of the work and contributions of the black community to the broader church."

In addition to the Tuesday series, a book signing, co-sponsored by Catalyst Café and books, will be held February 8 from 4-7 p.m. featuring black authors such as the Rev. Dr. Harold T. Lewis, the Rev. Stephanie Speller, the Rev. Craig Townsend, the Rev. Christopher Webber and the Rev. Scott Cady.

"The observance of a month of Black History is symbolic of the kind of attention that needs to be placed as a matter of course, on black history in schools, colleges and universities, our seminaries and the nation," said Ifill.

"As we live in an increasingly pluralistic society," Ifill noted that the history of Blacks, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanic/Latino must become "mandatory in institutions of learning," in order to give all students as broad as possible an "understanding of the people with whom they will work and minister."

All events are open to the public. For further information, email Valerie Harris at or call 212-716-6084.


-- Daphne Mack is a correspondent for Episcopal Life Media and editor of