St. Luke’s Episcopal to celebrate history

St. Luke’s Episcopal Chapel will hold its annual celebration honoring the life of the Rever­end Absalom Jones on Sunday, Feb. 15. The celebration will begin with the Eucharist Ser­vice at 10 a.m., followed by a luncheon at the church, 538 South Main St, Grambling.

Absalom Jones was born a slave in Sussex, Del. on Dec. 6, 1746. He learned to read as a child. At 16 he was taken to Philadelphia to work in his master’s shop where a clerk taught him to write.

His savings enabled him to buy first his wife’s and then his freedom. He became a friend of Richard Allen and together they founded the Free African Society, which served as a pro­tective society and social orga­nization for free blacks.

Jones and Allen were both inclined to preach and were part of St. George’s Method­ist Church. Harassed by white members, they made a deci­sion to organize blacks outside of the church and so the Free African Society grew.

Toward the end of 1790, Absalom Jones and Richard Allen were encouraged to inau­gurate a separate black church. In an election the majority of members of the Free African Society voted to affiliate with the Church of England. Ab­salom Jones accepted the pas­torate and in 1794 the African Church of St. Thomas opened.

Jones was active in the civic life of Philadelphia and in 1799 was among 75 free black men who sent a petition against the slave trade to Congress. This petition was the first official protest to Congress by blacks in America. Jones died on Feb­ruary 13, 1818. The Episcopal Church recognizes Absalom Jones as its first black priest. A Day of Devotion is annu­ally set aside in February by the church to commemorate the work of Absalom Jones.

Although there is a com­mon history shared between Black Episcopalians and Afri­can Methodist Episcopalians in the personages of Absalom Jones and Richard Allen, the guest speaker on this year’s cel­ebration is Dr. Walter M. Kim­brough, a United Methodist preacher’s kid and the seventh president of Dillard University.

Dr. Kimbrough will offer insight on the theme, “A Cen­tury of American Black Life, History, and Culture” and will help to see the role of the Church in the shaping of the this life, history and culture and what the church can do to keep the legacy of Absalom Jones and Richard Allen.

The church is thrilled to have Kimbrough, one of the youngest, energetic, vision­ary college presidents in the nation, as the speaker. He is known for his active use of social media to engage and stay connected with students.

Kimbrough has been de­scribed by some as a hands-on administrator who has the ability to connect with college students and challenge them to get actively involved in finding solutions to the problems that plague the Black community.

Prior to taking office at Dil­lard University, The Louisiana Weekly quoted him, saying “It’s not so much about a new president coming in and impos­ing his vision on everyone…a vision has to be collective and most people need to buy into it. I think part of being a leader is asking the right questions, so I’m going to come in and ask a lot of the right questions to help us to see where we are and then move forward.”

This time he is coming to St. Luke’s Chapel, Grambling to “ask a lot of the right ques­tions”, so come and join the congregation, as they answer Dr. Kimbrough’s questions. You never know, you may see where you are and discover where you want to be.

For additional information, contact Grace Tatum or the vicar, the Rev. Thomas Nsub­uga at 318-247-6669 (Tuesdays through Fridays).