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â„¢ April 2017


New Brunswick Theological Seminary Rev. Dr. Gregg Mast Retires

Revolutionary Love


Rev. Dr. Jacqui L. Lewis Middle Collegiate Church

Reading is Fundamental Rev. Dr. M. William Howard, Jr.






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Featuring courses in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Psychology, Physics, and more on CUNY campuses throughout NYC.

Earn credits during the summer. Visiting student registration starting dates:

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May 1

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Ongoing April 3 April 14 June 1

Take them back to your home campus in the fall. LaGuardia Community College, Brooklyn College, New York City College of Technology, Hunter College, CUNY School of Professional Studies, John Jay College of Criminal Justice Baruch College, Lehman College, Queens College

Queensborough Community College

Medgar Evers College (Summer 2)

April 17

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Hostos Community College, The City College of New York, York College

Bronx Community College

April 20

College of Staten Island

APRIL 2017


SECTIONS MONEY ...................................14 HEALTH...................................20 EDUCATION.............................26 CULTURE ................................58

Features dfree® Regional Conference ................................... 14

37 ON THE COVER: Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis of Middle Collegiate Church Is Revolutionary

&also inside

DIFFvelopment: Black Entrepreneurship .................. 16 Beware Browser Auto-Fill ........................................ 18 9th Annual Heart & Soul Music Fest ....................... 20 HealthFirst Celebrates Women ................................ 21 The Black Church & HIV .......................................... 25 Gregg Mast Leaves NBTS .......................................... 26 AFUWI Gala ............................................................ 32 Women’s History at Essex County College ................ 34 Langston Hughes Students Learn about Work ......... 35

Publisher’s Desk .................................. 8 Inez Dickens Honors Women of Distinction ............. 56 Richardson’s 20th Anniversary at First Baptist ......... 58 Guest Editorial ................................... 10 Black History Month at Englewood Baptist .............. 60 My View ............................................. 12 Blackshear’s 40th Pastoral Anniversary ................... 61 Fitness Doctor .................................... 24 Rev. McCain Gill Leads Symposium ........................ 63 Gospel Train ....................................... 65 UMBA’s First Quarterly Session ............................... 66 The Way Ahead .................................. 73 PRAHD Black History Awards ................................... 67 The Last Word .................................... 74 Deaconess Mother Mary B. Hill ............................... 71 4

The Positive Community April 2017

AnnuAl Alumni/Ae & PArtner AwArds dinner “Leading in a MuLti-CuLturaL WorLd”

mondAy, mAy 1, 2017, 6:00 P.m. - 9:00 P.m. Class Reunions foR alumni/ae who gRaduated in yeaRs ending in ‘7 and ‘2 ~ ReCognition of ministRy PaRtneRs

guest PreAcher Rev. Dr. Dale T. Irvin

NYTS President and Professor of World Christianity

the Vernon m. dougherty distinction in ministry AwArd Rev. Dr. James A. Thornton

(MDiv 1990) Pastor, Salem Missionary Baptist Church

the rising Alumni/Ae AwArdee Rev. Dr. Toshikazu Kenjitsu “TK” Nakagaki (DMin 2012) President, Buddhist Council of New York

the PArtner in ministry leAdershiP AwArd Rev. Dr. Flora Wilson Bridges

Pastor, Rendall Memorial Presbyterian Church

The InTerchurch cenTer, 475 rIversIde drIve, new York, nY 10115 $60 donaTIon To rsvP and confIrm PaYmenT vIa Phone or emaIl conTacT: Alumnni/ae

Min. Cynthia Gardner-Brim Director, Alumni/ae Affairs 212) 870-1244 |

Supervised Ministry Partners

Dr. Nancy Fields Assistant Professor & Director of Supervised Ministry (212) 870-1269 |

Checks Payable To: New York Theological Seminary, ATTN: Sontaia Briggs, 475 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10115. NYTS | 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 500 | New York, NY 10115 | (T) 212-870-1211 | (F) 212-870-1236 |

CONVENTION THEME: “Restructuring for Relevance - Speaking Life” Dr. Lester W. Taylor, Jr. – Convention President Dr. Edward J. Bryant – Congress President Rev. John H. Gamble, Jr. – State Dean Dr. Joseph E. Woods - State Director of Christian Education

The Congress of Christian Education Announces MINISTRY & LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE THEME: “Restructuring for Relevance: Serving the Present Age” Friday, April 28, 2017

Session #1: 3:00pm-4:45pm

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Session #2: 8:00am-10:00am Session #3: 10:15am-12:15pm Lunch: 12:30pm

Two Days of Transformational Training with 17 Training Modules CONFERENCE SITE:


10 Livingston Avenue * New Brunswick, NJ 08901 For reservations, call 732.729.4670. Hotel Accommodations per night:

Single Occupancy - $139 plus tax and fees

Double Occupancy - $149 plus tax and fees

*Rates include Saturday Breakfast & Free WiFi; Parking Additional Rooms blocked until April 21, 2017 under GBCNJ.

Conference Registration Costs: Friday Only $75 Banquet Only $75 Saturday Only $110 Complete Packet $250 Registration Deadline is April 21, 2017. REGISTER ONLINE:

Christian Education Banquet - Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 7:00pm Congress President’s Address: Dr. Edward J. Bryant Guest Preacher: Rev. Dr. Jeffrey A. Johnson, Sr., Eastern Star Baptist Church, Indianapolis, IN For more information, please contact: Dr. Joseph E. Woods via email: or phone: (609) 543-2244. Dr. Jeffrey A. Johnson Sr.

Dr. Lester W. Taylor, Jr.








he clergy organizations, churches, community businesses and institutions listed below have committed to the purchase of at least 50 magazines per month at $1.00 each (one-third of the cover price) or support this publication through the purchase of advertising. Find out more by calling 973-233-9200 or email

Abyssinian B.C., Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, Pastor

Community Church of God, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Dr. Shirley B. Cathie., Pastor Emeritus

Messiah Baptist Church, Bridgeport, CT Rev. James Logan, Pastor

St. Albans, NY COGIC Rev. Dr. Ben Monroe, Pastor

Abyssinian B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. Perry Simmons, Pastor

Concord B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Gary V. Simpson, Pastor

Messiah Baptist Church, East Orange, NJ Rev. Dana Owens, Pastor

St. Anthony Baptist Church, Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Duane E. Cooper, Pastor

Abundant Life Fellowship COGIC, Newark, NJ Supt. Edward Bohannon, Jr, Pastor

Convent Avenue Baptist Church, New York, NY Rev. Dr. Jesse T. Willams, Pastor

Metropolitan B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. David Jefferson, Pastor

St. John Baptist Church, Camden, NJ Rev. Dr. Silas M. Townsend, Pastor

Aenon Baptist Church, Vauxhall NJ Rev Alphonso Williams, Sr Pastor

Emmanuel Baptist Church, Brooklyn NY Rev. Anthony Trufant, Pastor

Mount Calvary United Methodist Church, New York, NY Rev. Francis Kairson, Pastor

St. John’s B.C., Scotch Plains, NJ Rev. Dr. Evans L. Spagner, Interim Senior Pastor

Agape Christian Ministries Worship Ctr. Rev. Craig R. Jackson. Pastor

Empire Missionary B.C., Convention NY Rev. Dr. Ronald Grant, President

Mt. Neboh Baptist Church, Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Johnnie Green Jr., Pastor

Antioch Baptist Church., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Robert M. Waterman, Pastor

Fellowship Missionary B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. Elton T. Byrd Pastor/Founder

Mt. Pisgah B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Johnny Ray Youngblood, Pastor

Archdiocese of New York Brother Tyrone Davis, Office of Black Ministry

First B.C. of Lincoln Gardens, Somerset NJ Rev. Dr. DeForest (Buster) Soaries, Pastor

Baptist Ministers Conference of Greater NY & Vicinity Rev. James Morrison, Pastor

First Baptist Church, East Elmhurst, NY Rev Patrick Henry Young, Pastor

Mount Olive Baptist Church, Hackensack, NJ Rev. Gregory J. Jackson, Pastor

Berean B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Arlee Griffin Jr., Pastor Bethany B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Adolphus C. Lacey, Sr. Pastor Bethany B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Timothy E. Jones, Pastor Beulah Bible Cathedral Church, Newark, NJ Gerald Lydell Dickson, Senior Pastor Calvary Baptist Church, Garfield, NJ Rev. Calvin McKinney, Pastor Calvary Baptist Church, Morristown, NJ Rev. Jerry M. Carter, Jr., Pastor Canaan B. C. of Christ, Harlem, NY Rev. Thomas D. Johnson, Pastor Canaan B.C., Paterson, NJ Rev. Barry L. Graham, Pastor Cathedral International., Perth Amboy, NJ Bishop Donald Hilliard, Pastor Charity Baptist Church, Bronx, NY Rev. Reginald Williams, Pastor Christian Cultural Center, Brooklyn, NY Rev. A.R. Barnard, Pastor Christian Love B.C., Irvington, NJ Rev. Dr. Ronald Christian, Pastor Clear View Baptist Church, Newark, NJ Rev. Eric M. Beckham, M.Div., MFT Community B.C., Englewood, NJ Rev. Dr. Lester Taylor, Pastor

First Baptist B.C. of Teaneck, NJ Rev. Marilyn Monroe Harris, Pastor First Corinthian Baptist Church, NY Rev. Michael A. Walrond, Jr. Senior Pastor First Park Baptist Church, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Rufus McClendon, Jr., Pastor First Baptist Church, South Orange, NJ Rev. Dr. Terry Richardson, Pastor Friendship Baptist Church, Rahway, NJ Rev. Allen Thompson, Jr., Pastor General Baptist Convention, NJ Rev. Dr. Guy Campbell, Jr., Presiden Good Neighbor Baptist Church Rev. Dr. George A. Blackwell, III, Pastor Grace B. C., Mt. Vernon, NY Rev. Dr. Franklyn W. Richardson, Pastor Greater Abyssinian BC, Newark, NJ Rev. Allen Potts, Senior Pastor

Mount Zion Baptist Church, Westwood, NJ Rev. Barry R. Miller, Pastor Mt. Olivet B.C, Newark, NJ Rev. André W. Milteer, Pastor Mt. Zion AME Church, Trenton, NJ Rev. J. Stanley Justice, Pastor New Hope Baptist Church, Metuchen, NJ Rev. Dr. Ronald L. Owens, Pastor New Hope Baptist Church of Hackensack, Hackensack, NJ Rev. Dr. Frances Mannin-Fontaine, Pastor New Jerusalem Worship Center, Jamaica, NY Rev. Dr. Calvin Rice, Senior Pastor New Life Cathedral, Mt. Holly, NJ Rev. Eric Wallace, Pastor New Zion B.C., Elizabeth, NJ Rev. Kevin James White, Pastor Paradise B. C., Newark, NJ Rev. Jethro James, Pastor

Greater Zion Hill B.C., Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Frank J. Blackshear, Pastor

Park Ave Christian Disciples of Christ, East Orange, NJ Rev. Harriet Wallace, Pastor

Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI) Malcolm A. Punter, President & CEO

Pilgrim B. C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. Glenn Wilson, Pastor

Imani Baptist Church, East Orange, NJ Rev.Chuch Chamberlayne, Pastor It Is Well Living Ministries, Clark, NJ Rev. Kahlil Carmichael, Pastor

Ruth Fellowship Ministries, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Tracey Brown, Pastor Shiloh AME Zion Church, Englewood, NJ Rev. John D. Givens, Pastor

Macedonia Baptist Church, Lakewood, NJ Dr. Edward D. Harper, Pastor

Shiloh B.C., Plainfield, NJ Rev. Sheila Thorpe, Pastor

Mariners’ Temple B.C., New York, NY Rev. Dr. Henrietta Carter, Pastor

Shiloh B.C., Trenton, NJ Rev. Darell Armstrong, Pastor

St. Luke Baptist Church of Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Johnnie McCann, Pastor St Luke B.C., Paterson, NJ Rev. Kenneth D.R. Clayton, Pastor St. James AME Church, Newark, NJ Rev. Ronald L. Slaughter, Pastor St. Paul Baptist, Red Bank, NJ Rev. Alexander Brown, Pastor St. Mark Missionary B.C., Jamaica, NY Rev. Owen E. Williams, Pastor St. Matthew AME Church, Orange, NJ Rev. Dr. Lanel D. Guyton, Pastor St. Paul's B.C., Montclair, NJ Rev. Dr. Bernadette Glover, Pastor St. Paul Community B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. David K. Brawley, Pastor The New Hope B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Joe Carter, Senior Pastor Union Baptist Temple,, Bridgeton, NJ Rev. Albert L. Morgan, Pastor Walker Memorial B.C. Bronx, NY Rev. Dr. J. Albert Bush Sr., Pastor Welcome Baptist Church, Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. Elijah C.Williams, Pastor World Gospel Music Assoc., Newark, NJ Dr. Albert Lewis, Founder

Businesses & Organizations 125th St. BID City National Bank Essex County College, NJ Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce Marion P. Thomas Charter School Mildred Crump, Newark City Council Muslim American Chamber of Commerce NAACP New Jersey* NAACP, NY State Conference* New Brunswick Theological Seminary New Jersey Performing Arts Center New York Theological Seminary NobleNNJ Nubian Conservatory of Music Razac Products Co., Newark, NJ Schomburg Center for Research The College of New Rochelle United Way of Essex and West Hudson WBGO-88.3FM West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc.

“The Positive Community magazine does outstanding work in promoting the good works of the Black Church. All churches and businesses should subscribe to and advertise in The Positive Community. Please April 2017 Rev. The Buster Positive Community support this magazine, the only one that features good news about the black community.”— Soaries, General 7 Baptist Revival, May 20, 2010


On Education and Social Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century:



elcome to a new edition of The Positive Community where education is the focus. And, as always, we remind our readers about the essentials: the progress of our children and the integrity of our African American culture, values and traditions mean everything, politics of the day and market forces notwithstanding! A conversation about the future begins with talks on education, health and business/finance/economics. Understanding our past is necessary in order to project a secure, happy and prosperous future. Education is the key; cultural literacy is the key. Education begins with the young child as society’s primary and most precious investment into the future. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), April is celebrated as the “Month of the Young Child.” Recently the city of Chicago introduced a “groundbreaking” initiative that requires public high school students to develop plans for life after high school (post-secondary attainment). Before they could get their diploma they would have to provide a letter showing they’ve been accepted to college, the military or a trade. They could also satisfy the requirement with a letter showing they have a job or a job offer. Imagine what great strides could be made if educators would pay more attention to the work of teaching the youth how to engage in life planning and character progression! Ideally, the purpose of all education should be to foster and further the supreme purpose of life, the development of a majestic and well-balanced personality. Today, there is a great need for the teaching of moral discipline in the place of so much self-gratification. Emerging Opportunities The quest for real meaning in post-Obama America is on! It’s no longer business as usual. We must gird ourselves for the many challenges that lie ahead. Exciting opportunities are emerging; new doors of possibilities are wide open. Among the many conventions, conferences, lectures, sermons and panel discussions taking place in the coming days, the National Action Network led by Rev. Al Sharpton is hosting their annual conference at the Sheraton Hotel April 26–29. All the above topics will be addressed including conversations about the future of social justice in America. The four-day event is free but attendees must register. Visit for details. On April 27, Harlem’s Interchurch Center, “The God Box”, home to over 70 non-profits, foundations, faith-based

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organizations, schools, businesses and a seminary will host their annual Networking Day. This is an opportunity for the building’s tenants/neighbors to greet each other and share their stories and missions. At 1pm, the doors to the Interchurch Center will open to the public for The Positive Community’s NY leadership Roundtable. The theme of this panel discussion: Social Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century; Building Positive Communities. What is a Social Entrepreneur? According The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurs drive social innovation and transformation in various fields including education, the arts, health, environment and enterprise development. They pursue poverty alleviation goals with entrepreneurial zeal, business methods and the courage to innovate and overcome traditional practices. A social entrepreneur, similar to a business entrepreneur, builds strong and sustainable organizations, which are either set up as not-for-profits or for-profit companies. A social entrepreneur is a leader or pragmatic visionary who: • Achieves large scale, systemic and sustainable social change through a new invention, a different approach, a more rigorous application of known technologies or strategies, or a combination of these. • Focuses first and foremost on the social and/or ecological value creation and tries to optimize the financial value creation. • Innovates by finding a new product, a new service, or a new approach to a social problem. • Continuously refines and adapts approach in response to feedback. • Combines the characteristics represented by Richard Branson and Mother Teresa. (augments the profit motive with a service motive) While it is recognized that increased business ownership for African Americans is crucial to our future success, social entrepreneurship could be the real catalyst for change that impacts our lives in meaningful ways. The roundtable’s expert panel, moderated by Rev. Jacques DeGraff will explore some of the ways in which social entrepreneurs could work to build positive, sustainable communities now and well into the future! This event is free, but seating is limited. For reservations: . . . Because a positive community is everybody’s business . . . It really pays to care!


Rev. Dr. M. William Howard, Jr. is Pastor Emeritus, Bethany Baptist Church, Newark, NJ.

Reading is Fundamental Reconnecting with our history and culture


frican Americans who descend from those who were enslaved in the system of chattel slavery that began in the early 17th century and continued through the American Civil War to the adoption of the 13th Amendment, developed an identifiable culture that was distinct and peculiar to them. Although there was a divergence in culinary staples, music, speech patterns, worship styles, and other behavioral characteristics often dependent upon the regions where they settled, there existed nonetheless a common bond, a shared identity, rooted in suffering and resistance to oppression. Separate But Equal? This identity and implicit solidarity was based upon race, and as long as discrimination based upon race was a clear and defining reality of society, codified in law and custom, black identity was inescapable. Long after slavery, Jim Crow laws and de facto segregation helped to confine the movement of black people to where they could live, go to school, shop, socialize et al. So it was necessary for them to create some semblance of normalcy and community among themselves. In virtually every field of human endeavor, there existed a robust “black alternative” in commerce, culture, religion, social relations, etc., making it possible especially for black and white people to live in two different worlds for most hours of the day. Even though this made for a tolerable existence, it was evident these separate worlds left African Americans at a disadvantage. They were a numerical minority, alienated from certain resources they required fully to develop themselves. The Connection Loosened Legal segregation ended in the mid-1960s, but extralegal means of marginalizing people of color continue to this day. However, over the past 50 years, the grip of strict racial division has become less severe, and the physical movement of some blacks—residentially, employmentwise, and socially—has changed sufficiently to loosen the

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connection that was forged by law and custom in earlier times, a connection which empowered the community to resist, to fight back, and to use whatever means at its disposal in self-defense. Economic and social class factors have contributed to this significantly. We know, though, that self-defense is still needed as we witness the wanton assaults on black lives by law enforcement in cities and towns in every region of the country. Health disparities, declining quality in public education in post-industrial cities and in rural areas, and fratricide, among other realities, have left too many black people exposed to life-threatening conditions to which they are near powerless to respond. Even religious institutions seem to falter in their capacity to hold out hope and inspire aspiration. A Will to Protect the Culture The question before us is whether a culture that provided some measure of protection from abuse in the worst days of anti-black tyranny and helped instill an enslaved people with a sense of collective purpose, can be recovered? Can that sense of “peoplehood” brought on largely by externally imposed laws and customs now be reclaimed, even though its subjects are scattered by physical separation, by education, class, employment or general outlook? Are we adequately persuaded that black people are still under threat, that our survival and wellbeing may depend upon some measure of voluntary unity? Do we find in the heritage born of slavery and perpetual racism sufficient beauty and humanity to embrace the music, the celebration, the style, the language, and dignity it spawned? Is there a will to insure the survival of “the Negro Tribe”? If the answer is no, dare we imagine the existence of this noble people being a lost memory? It is not farfetched to imagine this fate. But if the answer is yes, there is considerable work to do. Every kind of vehicle available, thanks to today’s pervasive technology, is shaping the values, disrupting social connections, and sending minds of people in every

tion. And while adventuresome thinking and imagining are not always bad things, one ought to have an understanding of how one’s forebears overcame challenges in history, recent and long ago, to make possible the life they currently enjoy. A deep knowledge of African American history and culture is essential to every African African’s sense of self and to his/her sense of belonging to a community. A Solution We must nurture any movement that helps to address this need. That is why the proliferation of black-led book clubs has caught my eye. Hundreds, if not thousands of them are thriving. I don’t claim to know what they are all reading. But just imagine, though, if they were all committed to building a strong foundation of knowledge about Black History and culture, so that “the Negro Tribe would be armed with an unparalleled understanding of its past. What if they ignited a hunger to know and a passion for the written word. What if they exposed the lie that “the best way to hide something from a black person is to put it in a book?” What if more of us would line up to join such a book club?

The dramatic success of the Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC and the long lines of curious visitors every day of the week are indications of the hunger for such knowledge that organized reading and discussion groups could build upon and strengthen. This may seem like a small thing, but this with other means of reconnecting us and getting our minds right so that we can pull together and build together is certainly worth a try.

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Rev. Nance is pastor of The Church by the Side of the Road in Passaic, NJ. She is also a radio talk show host and documentary filmmaker.

How Time Flies

Agape Christian Ministries Celebrates 30 Years


as it really been 30 years? Guess so. I’m referring to the Agape Christian Ministries’ observance of its 30-year sojourn at 76 Ward Street, Paterson, NJ. The Rev. Dr. James Kuykendall and his devoted wife, the Rev. Kathy Kuykendall, have both helmed this ministry from its humble beginnings in a storefront building, and now the church is housed on the busy thoroughfare of Ward Street. Recently, the congregation experienced the burning of their mortgage and they’re on the road to doing better and greater things as it relates to uplifting a fallen humanity. The month of March was marked as a month of celebration, which included choir concerts, a comedy show, a Founder’s Day service, and a dance ministry recital among other events, which culminated with a black-tie gala celebrating the 30th anniversary. Dr. Kuykendall and Pastor Kathy lead with firm convictions and a savvy business technique that appeared to help them accomplish their goals, whatever such goals may be, while ministering to the humanity that comes through the doors of the church. Both have their spiritual foundation steeped in the Church of God In Christ, but have since been affiliated with Apostle Frederick KC Price’s ministries, who founded the Crenshaw Christian Center in South Los Angeles, Calif. The Kuykendalls have been a solid, positive fixture in the Paterson community, even involved in the political arena. For a number of years, Dr. Kuykendall served as leader of the city’s Democratic Party. Their outreach ministries are varied and vast in their approach to being engaged in holistic ministry, and for many young men and women coming behind the Kuykendalls, their ministry has become a model for others to emulate as they attempt to establish a church of their own. The theme of their 30th anniversary was “The House that Prayer Built.” It is a known fact among many, that when problems have oppressed the Agape church family, it was nothing for Dr. Kuykendall to head a prayer band and walk around the building itself until the walls came tumbling down, so to speak. For years, he has held

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Rev. Dr. James Kuykendall and Rev. Kathy Kuykendall

early-morning prayer with his people and insists on teaching, more than preaching the message of salvation. Many who were going astray found a home at Agape and, in time, turned their lives around. He gives God the credit, but his and Pastor Kathy’s love for their folks can be attributed as another reason many congregants have been with them for many, many years. To relax, the Kuykendalls spend time in their vacation home in Florida and have graciously invited this writer to spend time with them on more than one occasion— invitations which have been duly noted and greatly appreciated. Suffice it to say, those who understand the serious and hard work of ministry itself wish nothing but the best for Rev. Dr. Kuykendall, Pastor Kathy, and the congregants themselves. Hopefully, it’s smooth sailing from now on.



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April 2017 The Positive Community


Rev. Dr. DeForest B. Soaries Jr., senior pastor, First B.C., of Lincoln Gardens, Somerset, NJ and founder of dfree®


dfree® West Coast Regional Conference Pastor Claybon Lea Hosts — Fred Hammond Performs


laybon Lea, senior pastor of Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Fairfield, California welcomed 1,000 church, community, and corporate leaders for a two-day dfree Financial Freedom Movement conference on March 3 and 4, 2017. After witnessing many of his own congregants become debt free by going through the dfree program, Lea explained that he was honored to host the “Say Yes to the Next Level” conference. “Those in my church who have completed dfree have, in a short period of time, realized over $100,000 of savings. We challenge people to really reassess their lifestyles,” Lea said. “Sometimes we say we’re broke and we’re not really broke. God has blessed us. We’re just making bad choices and the bad choices are resulting in our indebtedness and our enslavement.” Lea, who met dfree Founder DeForest B. Soaries, Jr. in the 90s when Lea also pastored a church in New Jersey, praised Soaries for continuing “to make a phenomenal impact on the lives of our churches.” Lea noted that one of the appeals of the program is the “train-the-trainer” model that allows churches and others to use minimal resources to incorporate dfree into existing programming. “In our communities, we’ve got to be more diligent about teaching our young people about generational wealth so that we teach [them] about finance, about management. We teach against materialism.” He continued, “We let them know it’s okay to have nice things but we don’t want nice things to have you.” The “Say Yes to the Next Level” conference series challenges participants to take existing dfree tools and strategies to the next level of financial freedom and wellness. “We live in a culture where debt is not perceived as a problem,” Soaries said. “The first thing we have to do is admit there is a problem. We have to address the mess. We have to change our attitudes.” The wealth gap between black and white Americans is so extreme that it would take 228 years for black people to


The Positive Community April 2017

L–R: Rev. Dr. DeForest B. Soaries Jr., Dr. Claybon Lea, Jr., pastor, Mount Calvary Baptist Church, and Rev. Danté R. Quick, Friendship Missionary B.C., Vallejo, CA

obtain on average what white families have today. Americans also aren’t passing on good financial habits to younger generations. Millennials are “financially fragile,” with 53 percent carrying over a credit card balance in the last 12 months and 50 percent believing they couldn’t come up with $2,000 for an unexpected need within the next month. The conference also included an Empowerment, Employment & Financial Resource Fair and a dfree Live concert featuring Multi-Award Winning Gospel Artist/ Producer Fred Hammond. In addition to expert advice, panel discussions, workshops, and training, The Money Coach Lynnette Khalfani-Cox author of New York Times bestseller Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom, gave a keynote address. Rev. Dr. DeForest B. “Buster” Soaries Jr., the founder of dfree, is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey and former New Jersey Secretary of State. Soaries, author of Say Yes to No Debt: 12 Steps to Financial Freedom, has issued a Billion Dollar Challenge as a national initiative and free resource to help individuals and families collectively pay down $1 billion in consumer debt.


Phil believes that if we want to keep our state economically competitive and successful, our leading export can no longer be high school seniors. He is committed to making college affordable for every New Jersey student.

Specifically, he will: Increase state aid to institutions of higher education, including community colleges, to lower tuitions and fees. Expand access to community colleges for high school students and create new vocational training programs to provide alternative pathways to success. Provide loan forgiveness to STEM graduates working in STEM jobs in the state and create incentives for private sector employers to provide student loan relief as a core employee benefit. Help New Jerseyans stuck with student loans at above-market rates by offering state-based refinancing at lower rates through a new public bank.

Paid for by Murphy for Governor, One Gateway Center, Suite 1025, Newark, NJ 07102



DIFFvelopment: the Art of Collective Black Entrepreneurship




7. 6.



Photos: Kaddu Photography

IFFvelopment is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization, based in Montclair, NJ. Its founders, a husband and wife team, Esi Kagale Agyeman and Peter Markeeo Gillo, are committed to addressing underemployment within the global professional black community through culturally specific entrepreneurial and financial education. With its mission of “re-empowering people of African descent one student at a time,” DIFFvelopment offers the global black community a series of dynamic events, a free online resource center, and a unique internship opportunity for black college students. Through their internship program, interns learn the fundamentals of entrepreneurship through class instruction and lecture series sessions, while providing free professionally supervised consulting services to small-businesses. DIFFvelopment is currently working with independent restaurants. Villalobos, Vital, Bluff City, and Health Love & Soul Juice Bar & Grill have agreed to participate. The program begins in May.

On February 24, 2017, Esi and Peter celebrated the official launch of DIFFvelopment, hosting an exciting event, DIFFveloping the Art of Collective Black Entrepreneurship, at 18 Label Studios in Montclair. Dedicated to supporting unique small businesses through DIFFvelopment, Esi and Peter crafted an impressive line-up of first-rate black creative work for sale—art by Mario Moore and Kamil Peters, and fashion and lifestyle products by BLK MKT Vintage, Entrepreneur Label, and ZingaZow. The elegant, soulful Caribbean hors’ d'oeuvres by Chef Kimberly Boyce of Heart N’ Soul Catering were a hit. Arinze Onugha, real estate investor, musician, attorney and DIFFvelopment board member, delivered a powerful keynote address. The evening culminated with an impeccably mixed afrobeat, hip hop and reggae celebration of Africana music and culture dance party with music by DJ Clein. For more information about DIFFvelopment, visit

CAPTIONS: 1. Esi and Peter Gillo, DIFFvelopment co-founders; 2. Andrew Musoke, DIFFvelopment Board Member; 3. Kelly Thomas, foundress of Black Arts Retreat and Artist Mario Moore; 4. Keynote Speaker Arinze Onugha, DIFFvelopment Board Member and Esi Gillo, DIFFvelopment co-founder; 5. L-R: Imani Darden; Afyia Shani Williams; Stephanie Ari Burrell, Worthy

Beings founder; Etecia Brown, letthemflourish founder; and Dominique Turner, Dominique Turner Videography founder ; 6. Randell Jette, Shaquille Taylor, Peter Gillo, and Christopher Sulé Young, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. members; 7. Kiyanna Stewart and Jannah Handy, BLK MKT Vintage co-founders

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Beware Browser Auto-Fill New Phishing Attack Can Steal Critical Information


rowser auto-fill is one of the most convenient modern Internet features. Popular browsers like Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Mozilla Firefox save computer users time by automatically populating form fields and login requests with information that has been previously entered before. But the problem, as revealed last month by Finnish web developer and hacker Viljami Kuosmanen, is that new phishing attacks are allowing hackers to steal personal information by placing invisible form fields on illicit websites. A user may enter only one or two lines of information — say a name and email address required to unsubscribe from what looks a spam email — while the rest of his or her auto-fill profile information is entered in boxes that the user can’t see or confirm. If the computer user has an autofill profile set up in a browser, autofilling the two visible form fields will automatically populate the six hidden fields as well. This presents a simple method for hackers and cybercriminals to collect a wide array of personal information about us-

ers, ranging from home addresses to phone numbers and even credit card numbers if that information is saved by browser auto-fill. True to most phishing attacks, these malicious websites are visited when a computer user inadvertently clicks on an unfamiliar link in a spam email — or clicks the “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of a message you no longer want to receive. “I had known about this issue for a long time,” Kuosmanen told Bleeping Computer last month. “A similar thing is used to trap bots in forms to avoid spam. This is the same idea, just trap[ping] real browser users instead of bots.” Kuosmanen says he was motivated to dig deeper into auto-fill’s potential for hacking when he noticed Google Chrome entering the wrong information on e-commerce sites. “I went on to see which details Chrome had saved for auto-fill about me and was surprised about how much information is available,” Kuosmanen added. He then created a proof-of-concept website that demonstrates how hackers can trick users into sharing the data that they have stored.

The bad news? Browsers like Chrome and Safari often enable autofill automatically, presumably to save computer users time. The good news? It can be easily deactivated, usually by visiting your browser’s Preferences or Settings menu and clicking “Disable” next to the Auto-Fill feature. For now, Firefox and Microsoft Edge appear to be the safest browsers to use since they don’t support multi-field auto-fill. Hopefully, Google, Apple, and other companies will soon develop a secure fix for this auto-fill vulnerability. But until then, this new hacking tactic is just one more in a long line of issues that must be addressed with robust online security, including proactive maintenance and monitoring, reliable and remote data backup, and a multi-layered approach to keeping users safe from the most dangerous strains of malware, ransomware, email compromise, and other phishing attempts. If you are not sure about how to turn off browser auto-fill — or whether your critical information is even stored in the first place — contact CMIT Solutions today. We worry about IT security, so you don’t have to.

Cecil Cates 973.325.3663 18

The Positive Community April 2017

Prudential VP Honored L–R: On hand to celebrate with Dorinda were radio personality, Toya Beasley; Dorinda’s daughter, Janae Walker and granddaughter Nevaeh Kline; as well as Renau Daniels of Black Enterprise; Gayle Hawkins, and Nadia Pringle both colleagues from Prudential. Photo: Wali Amin Muhammad

Dorinda Walker Receives Network Journal Award


orinda Walker, vice president of Consumer Strategy & Key Initiatives Multicultural Marketing for Prudential's U.S. Businesses, was among the women honored by the Network Journal magazine at their 25 Influential Black Women Business Awards, on Thursday, March 23, 2017. It is an occasion to celebrate

women who are redefining excellence. The women were chosen from hundreds of nominations from the ranks of professionals and entrepreneurs. MultiEmmy Award winning journalist Brenda Blackmon served as mistress of ceremonies for the luncheon, which was held at the New York Marriott Marquis.

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Health P R E V E N T I O N , T R E AT M E N T & C U R E

9th annual “Heart and Soul Music Fest” From Englewood Hospital and Medical Center


nglewood Hospital and Medical Center held its 9th Annual Heart & Soul Music Fest on February 17, 2017, celebrating Heart Health Month and African American heritage through music. The event drew hundreds from the community and was created to celebrate the African-American heritage while also raising awareness of heart health issues in the African-American community. The crowd enjoyed an evening of education and entertainment, including a buffet dinner of soul food; a brief presentation from Englewood Hospital and Medical Center cardiologist Dr. Duane Bryan; and gospel, R&B, jazz, and hiphop performances. Entertainers included radio personality Liz Black, DJ Mitch, Status IV, Dave James, and Ray Blue. The event honored 92-year-old veteran and cardiac patient, Austin Powlis, of Teaneck, who is a recipient of the WWII French Legion Medal of Honour; and Music Mogul Leland Robinson, Sr. L–R: Music Mogul Leland Robinson, Sr. of Sugarhill Records was presented with The Legend Award by Board Trustee Thomas M. Jackson

L–R: Teaneck resident Austin Powlis, a 92-year-old veteran, cardiac patient, and recipient of the WWII French Legion Medal of Honour and Heart & Soul Music Fest Community Leadership Award; his daughters, Annette Powlis and Denise Powlis; Eddie Hadden, board trustee, Englewood Hospital and Medical Center; and Dennis Katechis, DO, cardiologist at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center. Photos courtesy of Englewood Hospital and Medical Center


The Positive Community April 2017

L–R: Hon. Dr. Una S. T. Clarke and Gaye Anderson, HealthFirst, manager

L–R Gaye Anderson, HealthFirst manager; Barbara Holmes, president, Resident Association; and George Hulse, Healthfirst, VP External Affairs

HealthFirst Celebrates Women


ealthFirst, provider of free and low-cost health insurance plans and programs, celebrated Women’s History Month on March 31 at Maestro’s Caterers in the Bronx honoring women groundbreakers and history makers of our time. They are: Barbara Holmes, president, Resident Association; Dr. Ana R. Olivero, MD FAAP; Fianny Cabrera, MS.CCC-SLP, TSLD; Hon. Dolly Williams, president/CEO, A. Williams Construction; Marisol Alcantara, NY State Senator; Hon. Dr. Una S. T. Clarke, former member New York City Council;. Laurie A. Cumbo, NYC Councilmember 35th District; Lieutenant Lorraine Perez, NYPD 48th Precinct, Bronx, NY; Renee Mehrra, president, Reenbow Media, LLC; Nancy Hernadez, NYS deputy comptroller; and Nydia R. Edgecombe, director, Alumni Relations, Hostos.

L–R: Gaye Anderson, Healthfirst; NYC Councilmembers Vanessa L. Gibson and Laurie A. Cumbo with Healthfirst VP George Hulse Photo: Seitu Oronde

Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) and guest

L–R: Hon. Dolly Williams, president and CEO, A. Williams Construction and family

April 2017 The Positive Community


nbi6465 Aprilup Positive Community Advertorial 8x10.5-m1 and 3/22/17 10:54 AM Page 1 the steps became exhausting

unbearable. He could no longer work as a carpenter and medical therapy was not providing relief.

Together, we’ve established New Jersey’s Together, we’ve After undergoing extensive testing, it established New Jersey’s only lung transplant programNew and Jersey’s are was determined that Ron had Chronic established Together, we’ve Obstructive Pulmonarytransplant Disease (COPD), only lung program and are a progressive lung disease characterized giving hope to patients like Ron. only lung transplant program and are by increasing breathlessness. Ron was giving hope to patients like Ron. referred to the Advanced Lung Disease giving hope tolife.Beth patients Ron Howard always led an and Transplant Program at active Newark Israel Medical like Ron.

But all changed in 2012 whenlife. the Ronthat Howard always led an active Center (NBIMC) in Newark, where physicians delivered East Orange resident started experiencing But that all changed in 2012 when the the news that he needed a double lung transplant. Ron Howard always led an active life. shortness of breath. East Orangechanged residentinstarted experiencing But that when Five daysallafter his 52nd2012 birthday inthe December 2015, Ron shortness of breath. Eventually, a simple activity like walking East Orange resident started experiencing underwent a successful double lung transplant at NBIMC. up the steps becameactivity exhausting and shortness ofa breath. Eventually, simple like walking unbearable. He could no longer work up the steps becameactivity exhausting and as Eventually, a simple like walking a carpenter and medical therapy was not “The Newark Beth team is great – they unbearable. He could no longer work up the steps became exhausting and as providing relief. a carpentermy and medical was not changed completely! It was unbearable. Helife could notherapy longer work as like a providing relief. After undergoing extensive testing, it family atmosphere. They saidwas they would take a carpenter and medical therapy not was determined that Ron had Chronic providing relief. care me and extensive they did.testing, I feel like After of undergoing it a whole Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), was determined that Ron had Chronic new person, thanks to Newark Beth.” After undergoing testing, it a progressive lungextensive disease characterized Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), was determined that Ron Chronic Ronincreasing Howard, Double Lunghad Transplant by breathlessness. Ron was Recipient a progressivePulmonary lung disease characterized Obstructive Disease (COPD), referred to thebreathlessness. Advanced Lung Disease by increasing Ron was a progressive lung disease characterized and Transplant Program atLung Newark Beth Israel Medical referred to the Advanced Disease by increasing breathlessness. Ron was Center (NBIMC) in Newark, where physicians and Transplant Program atLung Newark Beth Israeldelivered Medical referred to the Advanced Disease the news that he needed a double lung transplant. Center (NBIMC)Program in Newark, where physicians and Transplant at Newark Beth Israeldelivered Medical the news that he needed a double lung transplant. Five days after his birthday inphysicians December 2015, Ron Center (NBIMC) in52nd Newark, where delivered underwent a successful lung transplant at NBIMC. the news he a double transplant. Five days that after hisneeded 52nd double birthday inlung December 2015, Ron underwent a successful lung transplant 2015, at NBIMC. Five days after his 52nd double birthday in December Ron

Dana Nordstrom, RN, MBA, NBIMC; Kathy Robinson, Financial Coordinator, NBIMC; Roh Yanagida, MD, Surgical Director, Advanced Lung Disease and Transplant Program, NBIMC; Ron Howard; Darrell K. Terry Sr., President and CEO, NBIMC and CHoNJ; Harish Seethamraju, MD, Medical Director, Advanced Lung Disease and Transplant Program, NBIMC; and Lauren Dispinseri, LCSW, Lung Transplant Social Worker, NBIMC.

underwent a successful double lung transplant “The Newark Beth team is great – they at NBIMC.

changed my life completely! It was like a “The Newark Beth team is great – they Dana Nordstrom, RN, MBA, NBIMC; family atmosphere. They said they would take changed my life completely! It was like a Kathy Robinson, Financial Coordinator, NBIMC; “The Newark Beth team is great – they . 1.888.NJLung1 DanaYanagida, Nordstrom, RN, MBA, Director, NBIMC; Advanced Roh MD, Surgical care me did. said I feel like alike whole familyofatmosphere. They changed myand lifethey completely! Itthey waswould a take KathyDisease Robinson, Coordinator, NBIMC; Lung andFinancial Transplant Program, NBIMC; DanaYanagida, Nordstrom, RN, MBA, Director, NBIMC; Advanced Roh MD, Surgical Ron Howard; Darrell K. Terry Sr., President and new person, thanks to Newark Beth.” care me and theyThey did. said I feelthey like would a whole familyofatmosphere. take KathyDisease Robinson, Financial Coordinator, NBIMC; Lung Program, NBIMC; CEO, NBIMC and and Transplant CHoNJ; Harish Seethamraju, Roh Howard; Yanagida,Darrell MD, Surgical Advanced Ron K.Advanced TerryDirector, Sr., President and and new person, thanks to Newark Beth.” Ron Howard, Double Lung Transplant Recipient care of me and they did. I feel like a whole MD, Medical Director, Lung Disease Lung Disease and Transplant Program, NBIMC; CEO, NBIMC and CHoNJ; Harish Seethamraju, Transplant Program, NBIMC; and Lauren Dispinseri, Ron Howard; Darrell K.Advanced Terry Sr., President and and new person,Double thanksLung to Newark Beth.” Ron Howard, Transplant Recipient MD, Medical Director, LungNBIMC. Disease LCSW, Lung Transplant Social Worker, Ron Howard, Double Lung Transplant Recipient

CEO, NBIMC and CHoNJ; Harish Seethamraju, Transplant Program, NBIMC; and Lauren Dispinseri, MD, Medical Director, Advanced LungNBIMC. Disease and LCSW, Lung Transplant Social Worker, Transplant Program, NBIMC; and Lauren Dispinseri, LCSW, Lung Transplant Social Worker, NBIMC. . 1.888.NJLung1 . 1.888.NJLung1 . 1.888.NJLung1

Hope. Health. Hearts. All transplanted here. RWJBarnabas Health has one of the top 10 heart transplant programs in the nation and, as a system, performs more adult heart transplants than any program on the East Coast. Our expertise in all matters of cardiac health is why we’re a regional and national training center for clinicians. And together with you, our survival rates consistently meet or exceed all benchmarks. It adds up to the most experienced and comprehensive heart care program in New Jersey. Available at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, it’s a program where hearts are transplanted right along with hope and health. Because, after all, your heart doesn’t beat just for you. To learn more, please visit

KAHLIL CARMICHAEL THE FITNESS DOCTOR Kahlil Carmichael is the spiritual director and founder of It Is Well Wellness and Worship Center in Somerset, New Jersey. He is a spiritual leader and the owner of The Fitness Doctor; a fitness and wellness consulting company. He writes a monthly column for The Positive Community Magazine and is the author of 50 Tips for a Better You! To grow spiritually and improve physically, or have Pastor Carmichael present his wellness seminar to your church or group you can email Kahlil at or call 732-921-3746.

Resurrection Over Resolution


love this time of year. Spring is in the air and that gives way to new beginnings, a season of restoration, and the celebration of resurrection! Resurrection Sunday or Easter Sunday commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion. Easter is celebrated on a Sunday in spring, and the season of Easter, a time of rejoicing, continues for several weeks. And this time of rejoicing arises from the truth that the same power that raised Christ from the dead is the same power working in us. That’s encouraging because this power enables us rise up, dust ourselves off and start again. It’s no secret that some who made a promise to start living healthier through a consistent exercise program and better food choices have abandoned their New Year’s resolutions. It’s April and many have made it to the gym or exercised for maybe one or two months at most (I am being extremely kind and generous). You promised to eat healthier and/or eat less, but somewhere after the Daniel fast you lost your way and returned to your evil ways… I understand! Very few people are staying on course without the support of a trained professional and congregation of fit and faithful individuals like those of It Is Well Living Church and The Fitness Doctor (visit and for more information). It’s tough to do it on your own. That’s the truth. But please don’t give up or lose hope! Use this season of resurrection to engage the powerful spirit of God that is deep inside you—yes you. This power has the ability to allow you to shake off the guilt and shame of not keeping your word to yourself and start again. That’s what this resurrection season is all about. How do you access this power? I am glad you asked! First you must believe that Christ arose from the dead. It is a spiritual principle found within the Christian faith. Most faith traditions have spiritual principles to which they adhere. Our Muslim brothers and sisters abide by the principle or pillar of the Islam faith known as Shahada; Buddhists believe in reincarnation; Christians believe in resurrection power. And this resurrection power on the inside helps us to do what we are not able to do on our own. Don’t make me start preaching! This resurrection power helps us to keep going when we feel like giving up.

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This resurrection power helps us to discipline ourselves to live healthier. This resurrection power helps us reignite the passion and enthusiasm to reach our God given goals. Didn’t maintain or keep your New Year’s resolutions? Here are some tips to resurrect your physical fitness and health goals for 2017 and beyond: Add some lean muscle—Every pound of muscle you add can help burn an extra 45 calories per day. So, if you beeline it for the weight room and pack on 10 pounds of lean muscle, then your body can continue to torch 450 calories daily well after you’ve left the gym, even if you’re chained to a desk for most of the day. At that rate, you can lose almost a pound of fat per week. Stretch it out—Throwing a leg on a bench and reaching for your toes is not a great warm-up. If you’re getting ready to run or bike, try firing up your muscles and boosting your heart rate and blood flow with some dynamic stretching: pull one knee to your chest while standing, then alternate for a few reps on each side. Next, kick each leg back and forth one at a time, slowly increasing speed to improve your range of motion, which will make the activity easier. Keep it short and sweat—Spending three hours at the gym or doing 100 reps of a move are not good things—quality trumps quantity when it comes to exercise. Your workouts should be short, intense, and explosive. This way, you’ll be better able to give it your all with good form, which is the best way to fast-track results. Let us make this season meaningful as we celebrate our Lord’s victory over death and our victory over resolutions. Peace and blessings. If you’re interested in a free consultation or more information on FitCare, call 732-921-3746 or email Disclaimer: The information contained in this column is of a general nature. You should consult your physician or health care professional before beginning any exercise prgram or changing your dietary regimen.

The Black Church & HIV Initiative

Empowering Faith Leaders to Incorporate HIV into Ministry Courtesy of Black PR Wire


ewly updated pastoral resources for faith leaders that offer a foundation approach to addressing HIV within the black community from a social justice perspective are available from The Black Church & HIV. A partnership between the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Gilead Sciences, Inc., The Black Church & HIV initiative aims to address the urgent need for action on the HIV epidemic within the black community. The Pastoral Brief is an introduction to The Black Church & HIV, along with first-hand stories of how faith leaders can preach about HIV as a social justice issue and impact the lives of those living with HIV. Complementing the brief is an Activity Manual that provides faith leaders and lay persons who lead ministries in their church with more detailed information about HIV, as well as specific recommendations on activities that combat HIV and AIDS in the African-American community. “Historically, the Black Church has been instrumental in driving change on social justice issues,” says Dr. Marjorie Innocent, NAACP’s senior director of Health Programs. “There is a growing need for pastors and the faith community to help address the alarming rates of HIV among African Americans. These comprehensive tools will empower pastors and lay leaders, giving them the resources they need to bring HIV awareness and prevention into their ministry.” The African-American community, bearing the heaviest burden of HIV within the United States, is on the front lines of the fight against HIV. While they represent 12 percent of the total United States population, they account for 41 percent of all people living with HIV and 44 percent of all new infections. Additionally, on average, African Americans are likely to experience

worse health outcomes than any other racial or ethnic group. Addressing the HIV epidemic is crucial in lowering these statistics and advancing health equity among African Americans, who historically have experienced unequal access to healthcare and been economically and socially disadvantaged, leading to a disproportionate burden of disease. The Pastoral Brief and Activity Manual, which are an update to the original documents released in 2012, are reflective of the initiative’s learnings over the past five years, as well as current statistics and positions on the issue. They were developed under the guidance and support of an Advisory Committee of bishops, ministers and thought leaders who have worked in HIV ministry for decades. The timely launch of the Pastoral Brief and Activity Manual allows faith leaders to incorporate HIV education into their sermons in observance of Minority Health Month. This month is dedicated to bringing national attention to the issue of health disparities that continue to affect racial and ethnic minorities, including HIV in the black community. The Black Church & HIV: The Social Justice Imperative initiative was created in 2013 as a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action through the NAACP in partnership with Gilead Sciences, Inc. The initiative joins faith leaders, religious institutions and community members committed to ending the HIV epidemic in Black America, while also working to overcome stigma and address HIV as an issue of social justice To download a copy of the Pastoral Brief or Activity Manual or learn more about NAACP’s The Black Church & HIV: The Social Justice Imperative initiative, visit April 2017 The Positive Community





As Leaven Is to Loaf

serve as guest lecturer at the Nkhoma Theological College in Malawi, Africa. He has a Master of Divinity DR. GREGG MAST RETIRES FROM NBTS degree from NBTS, holds a Bachelor degree in Religion from Hope College in Holland, MI, and earned his Ph.D. By g.r.mattox in Liturgical Studies from Drew University. “When I was a student here, most were just out of college, young, and able to move away from home and live on campus,” he remembered. Today, only about five percent of students actually board near the seminary and most are in their 40s and 50s, working full time and not necessarily seeking degrees. Along with declining enrollment, this was a change that seriously needed to be addressed. The solution was to sell more than half of the campus to Rutgers University, reduce the ten buildings on campus to two and, with the proceeds from the sale, build a 30,000 square-foot, seven-classroom building that is “technology smart and environmentally green.” Some of the classrooms are equipped for distance learning between the New Brunswick campus and their satellite campus on the grounds of St. John’s University in Queens. Completed in 2014, the new building is handicap-accessible and eco-friendly. A longstanding part of the campus that was retained is the exquisitely appointed Gardner A. Sage Library. Dedicated in 1875 and considered the “the jewel of the fter preaching, teaching, and making a differcampus” and a theological book lover’s dream, it features ence for over 40 years, The Rev. Gregg A. Mast, a 160,000-volume Victorian book hall, beautiful stained Ph.D. will retire from the New Brunswick glass windows, and book stacks rich in biblical studies, Theological Seminary (NBTS) this June having served theology, and church and denominational histories. as its 14th President for 11 years. “I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve the seminary I fell in love Diversity is Key with 42 years ago,” expressed Dr. Mast. “It’s humbling to NBTS, founded by the Dutch Reformed Church and the reflect on my time at the seminary, where I was allowed oldest seminary in North America, has a diverse campus. to share my gifts in a community of faith and learning Two-thirds of the student body are people of color. Mast that has deeply touched my life and so many others observed the struggle against structural racism and that around the world.” the course of study was not nearly as attentive to diversity Accepting the call to ministry at age 20, Mast went on as it needed to be. He is a staunch proponent of the semto lead congregations in Newark and Irvington, New inary’s Anti-Racism Transformation Team, which worked Jersey and Albany, NY; teach at several colleges; and for a decade to identify ways the seminary should con-


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The Positive Community April 2017

front the lingering place of privilege in its own structures. “Our curriculum is far more sensitive to the diversity of students who come and learn in our halls,” Mast explained. One required course is on the history of the Black Church. There are also ethnically specific courses for Latino and Asian students. “We want to integrate all our courses, so they are more attentive to the history and the identity of all our students.” Dr. Mast says working together means affirming the common element of all Christian traditions: a commitment to the poor, the hungry, the marginalized, the sick and the dying, and those who seek justice. “It’s not a question of what music people sing, but the fact that all Christian congregations sing music,” he said. “All traditions include prayers in their worship, some are energetic and some reflective, but there are some common elements in worship, and those elements are taught, and then each tradition of each of our students affirmed.” Mast has attempted to address what he describes as “the shrinkage of the American Church.” “Of the generation aged between 25 and 40, five percent have identified themselves as what I call ‘the nones’ — although they are spiritual they don’t have a religious allegiance or affiliation,” he explained. “There is a dramatic disaffection in the church. We’re not only producing ministers but increasingly teaching lay people who simply want to know more about their faith or want to serve the church more faithfully. Many don’t want to move toward ordination, but simply want to be better Christians and participants in their own congregations.” Praises A-Plenty The accolades are pouring in as the days of his administration wind down. Reverend Vernon Williams, associate pastor of Fountain Baptist Church in Summit, NJ, stated that a number of ministers at the church had earned degrees from NBTS. Senior Pastor Rev. J. Michael Sanders and Dr. Mast had a great working relationship, with Sanders serving on the Board of Trustees and receiving an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from NBTS in 2013. The church made a major donation to the seminary, and the seminary named one of its classrooms after the church. Another positive relationship saw Dr. Mast working with Rev. Gregory Jackson of Mt. Olive BC in Hackensack on the renovation of the library. Rev. Jackson describes Mast as “a real gift. I think he is a blessing to the seminary; he’s going to be sorely missed. He’s done wonderful things for the seminary in terms of new buildings, new trustees, diversity of trustees, staff, and anti-racism policies we all embrace. He’s a phenomenal preacher, gifted educator, and well-respected across denominations.”

“I have been privileged to know Dr. Mast and interact with the New Brunswick Theological Seminary community for almost two decades,” said Cathedral International’s senior pastor, Bishop Donald Hilliard. “As a former lecturer in Evangelism and Church Growth, I was honored to teach at NBTS under Dr. Mast’s tenure. Dr. Mast is certainly one of the greatest Christian thinkers of this time.” Mast says that the search committee for his successor will bring forth a single candidate for a conversation with the Board of Trustees by the end of the month. What advice would he give his successor? “Most things we face require an agile mind and a flexible spirit,” he said. “I see this as a pastoral responsibility. Be firm about the non-negotiables—core Christian beliefs, of which teaching and preaching about the life, death, and resurrection of Christ is at the heart. The church is called to be in mission to the world, not apart from the world, but in it as leaven is to loaf. All the other things that come across the desk are things on which one can be flexible.” Dr. Mast received many awards and accolades in his time as president of NBTS; he is likely most proud of the naming of the new seminary chapel in his honor. To date, the seminary has raised more than $7 million of its $8 million capital campaign goal. Gregg Mast will leave behind a 233-year-old religious institution he describes as “deeply rooted and radically relevant.” It is certainly an institution that will endure. He will move back to Albany with his wife, Vicki, who will also retire from her position as a pre-k school psychologist at the end of the school year. They will spend time with their three children and four grandchildren, do some hiking, some traveling, and some putting their feet up for the near future until the next call to service comes along. “We are absolutely sure that God will tap us on the shoulder and show us new ways to serve…we just hope that doesn’t come too quickly.” April 2017 The Positive Community April 2017 The Positive Community

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We Believe The Gospel Can Indeed Transform Our Urban Communities


he urban ministry landscape of the 21st century is not only distinct. It is more fluid and more pervasive than ever. Recent studies have shown that over half of the people on the face of the earth live in urban areas. In the U.S., for instance, almost 80 percent of the population lives in metropolitan regions. These areas not only include large inner cities, but less populated municipalities and their surrounding suburban locales whose residents, like those in large inner city communities, must grapple with a growing litany of issues and concerns unique to their context. Urban ministers must content with the characteristics of urban settings that are continuously changing and being influenced by a myriad of factors. These factors may include the growth or decline of a city’s population due to migration, immigration and gentrification; a diverse cultural and ethnographic makeup impacted by transitions, prejudice, and racial tensions; neighborhoods of varying social classes; educational resources, or the lack thereof, for children and youth; unemployment; urban politics; the prison pipeline; and over-policing, to name a few. With all this and more to contend with, ministers in an urban context can be led to feel as though they are not equipped or adequately resourced for doing transformative ministry with and among urban dwellers. And for a large number, in fact, this may be true. But it doesn’t have to be the case. I yearn to see our city churches filled


The Positive Community April 2017

with women and men in ministry who not only have a heart for the city but the knowledge base, practical skills and confidence to engage in contextualized ministry that is transformative, empowering and enriching for church and larger community. But in order for this to take place, those who would minister in urban contexts would need to do three things. First, urban churches need their ministers to commit to acquire the appropriate knowledge base and training. Enrolling in master’s level and doctoral courses, such as those offered by New Brunswick Theological Seminary, that focus on nurturing a theological understanding of and practical skills for doing urban ministry, while collaborating with other churches, nonprofits, local businesses and leaders can provide immeasurable knowledge and preparation for the urban ministry practitioner. Courses like “urban land use and policy planning for urban ministry,” “Media training for the urban minister,” “pastoral care and contemporary urban issues,” “cooperative urban economic development,” “politics and ministry in the public square,” and “biblical reflections on cities,” are constructed to enable the metro-urban minister to be a transformative presence in and for the communities they serve. Second, the urban minister must take seriously the city as foundational to the Christian faith and story; as a place of great challenge and great possibility. As Alexander the Great understood the city as the epicenter of music, language,

politics, commerce and trade, so too the importance of the city was not lost on Jesus. A cursory glance at Jesus’ “urban ministry” shows that Jesus clearly saw the city as important to proclaiming the coming of God’s Kingdom. It is to the cities –places of great diversity, great challenges and great possibilities – that Jesus sent his disciples to preach and embody the message that the kingdom of God is at-hand. Thirdly, doing transformative urban ministry today requires a distinct urban theology; one that, as Ronald E. Peters puts it operates from a “bottom-up theological perspective.” Like our biblical ancestors called and commissioned by Christ to love, serve and seek justice for the most vulnerable – identified in the Bible as the widows, orphans, strangers, prisoners, poor, lame, blind, etc. – urban ministers today are being called to show compassion toward and seek justice for those who are most in need (Deuteronomy 26:1213; Proverbs 29:13; Isaiah 58:6-7; Matthew 18:23-34; Philippians 4:2-8). With a heart for urban ministry and a theological understanding of the city as foundational to the Christian story, New Brunswick Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry in Metro-Urban Ministry is designed to inform, inspire and equip urban ministers to be a transformative presence in an urbanized world at the local and global level. We believe the Gospel can indeed transform our urban communities. Our first task, I believe, is to allow the Gospel to inform and transform us.

“And Jesus increased in wisdom...”

― Luke 2:52a We invite you to join us so together we can increase in wisdom and share God’s love to transform the world.

Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, Doctor of Ministry, Certificate Programs

Transformative. Practical. Faithful. Graduate Theological Education since 1784 NJ Campus | 35 Seminary Place | New Brunswick, NJ 08901 | 732-247-5241 NY Campus | St. John’s University – St. John Hall, Room B36 8000 Utopia Parkway | Jamaica, NY 11439 | 718-990-6000 | FB>ME/1784NBTS | @NBTS1784

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Your path to success starts at NYSCAS. Choose from more than 45 associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs at seven convenient locations throughout the metro area. Think college, think NYSCAS. A division of Touro College.

MANHATTAN: 212.463.0400 x5500 BROOKLYN: 718.885.8501

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Touro is an equal opportunity institution. For Touro’s complete Non-Discrimination Statement, please visit












New York School of Career & Applied Studies


A Division of Touro College • Where Knowledge and Values Meet arning a college degree is a major achievement, and for many New Yorkers it takes many steps to get the kind of quality higher education that will lead to a successful career.

At New York School of Career and Applied Studies (NYSCAS), a division of Touro College, faculty and administrators understand and embrace students who keep their eye on that goal –regardless of background or time schedule. NYSCAS welcomes applicants who are recent high school graduates, transfer students, working adults, parents of young children and students who have taken a break from their education, but are now ready to continue.

As a progressive urban institution of higher learning, NYSCAS supports, accommodates and celebrates diverse cultures and ethnic origins. With classes at night and on weekends, NYSCAS knows that one size does not fit all when it comes to delivering comprehensive academic programs to those dedicated to their academic and career future. Academic pathways to real world professions With over 45 associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, NYSCAS offers rigorous academic training in majors that prepare graduates for well paying, real-world job opportunities, including Business Management and Administration (with concentrations in Accounting, Finance, and Marketing), Criminal Justice, Digital Multimedia Design, Education, Biology, Health Sciences (pre-med, pre-dental) Human Services, Information Technology, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Paralegal Studies, Pre-Law and Psychology. Experienced counselors and caring academic advisors are on hand at seven convenient locations throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens to guide enrollees from application and admissions to graduation and beyond. Career development personnel and faculty with professional networks in their field help undergrads land meaningful internships and prepare graduates for job interviews with sought-after employers.

Reaching higher in higher ed For students who want to go further, NYSCAS degrees open many possibilities to rewarding professional careers. Students like Sanjay--who graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in biology, went on to earn a degree from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine and is now a medical resident at Hackensack University Medical Center--are maximizing their NYSCAS degrees. “The professors and deans at NYSCAS took an interest in each student individually,” said Sanjay. “They sincerely wanted to help us focus on our studies so we could succeed. I’ve had a great education.” There is Ronald, a NYSCAS class of ’13 graduate, who is currently enrolled in Touro Law Center, and Chana, NYSCAS class of ’16 valedictorian who is working in the emergency room at Jamaica hospital and plans to pursue a career as a Physician Assistant at Touro’s School of Health Sciences. These are just a few examples of our outstanding alumni who are pursuing careers in a variety of fields. Personalized Academic Attention A recent survey showed that Touro students found administrators and faculty welcoming, open, friendly and had favorable experiences regarding teacher involvement and personalized attention. “The faculty was friendly and approachable and made you love the subject they were teaching,” said Chana. “When I needed letters of recommendation for graduate school, the teachers were happy to spend time writing me a letter. They made me feel like family.” An excellent value A NYSCAS education is more affordable than you may think. Financial aid counselors can discuss the best ways to pay for your education and help determine your eligibility for a wide range of aid, including federal, New York State and internal Touro grants and scholarships. So what are you waiting for? Call (212)463-0400, ext.5500 to make an appointment or visit us at Career focused, student-centered. Let NYSCAS get you to where you want to go.

Touro is an equal opportunity institution. For Touro’s complete Non-Discrimination Statement, please visit

April 2017 The Positive Community


L–R: Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles; Ade Williams; Dionne Warwick; Doug E. Fresh, and Gala Chair Paxton Baker, presenting Bob Marley Award to Doug E. Fresh

Yvette Clarke and Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles Photos courtesy of The American Foundation for the University of the West Indies (AFUWI)

Star Studded AFUWI Gala Raises Funds for Caribbean Students American Foundation for The University of West Indies Legends Awards Raises Funds for Education


undreds of supporters, alumni, and leadership of The University of the West Indies (UWI) filled the ballroom of the Pierre Hotel in midtown Manhattan on February 23, 2017 for the Legacy Awards Gala given by the American Foundation for The University of West Indies (AFUWI). NBC4 News Anchor Maurice DuBois served as host, along with Syndicated Radio Host Angela Yee and Television Journalist Janell Snowden. The foundation presented Doug E Fresh with the Bob Marley Award; Estelle with the Caribbean Luminary Award; Paul Salmon, founder and CEO of the Rockhouse Foundation, with the Humanitarian Award; and Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke with the inaugural Shirley Chisolm award. The Champions of Community Engagement awards were presented to: Dennis Shipping, Earl Phillips of the Transport Workers Union, Sesame Flyers International, the Kimberly Hotel, The Door Restaurant Corp. and Finn Partners. The university also honoured 20 of its past honorees including Board Chairman Dr. Lowell Haw-


The Positive Community April 2017

thorne; former U.S. Congressman Charles Rangel; JetBlue Airways; Dr Vincent HoSang; and Answorth Allen, MD “We were delighted to host not only the honorees, Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles, Chancellor Alleyne and the UWI leadership, but also our ongoing and new supporters who all came together to support higher education, through raising scholarship funds for very needy students,” said Dr Lowell Hawthorne, Chairman of the AFUWI Board. “It is our hope that our work will continue to build awareness of AFUWI and to expand our donor pool among an audience that has an affinity for the Caribbean, higher education and building future leaders.” In a moment of surprise, the outgoing University Chancellor, Sir George Alleyne, was honoured by AFUWI for his astute scholarship, his years of dedicated service to his alma mater, the UWI, and for the global respect he has commanded within his field. The evening belonged to the students, three of whom flew into New York for the gala and who brought an

U.S. Congressman Gregory W. Meeks and former Congressman, Charles Rangel L–R: Dr. Sydney McCalla, UWI Chancellor Sir George Alleyne, and Lowell Hawthorne

L–R: Gerald White Davis; British singer, songwriter Estelle, and Chancellor Sir George Alleyne

Master of Ceremonies Maurice DuBois, anchor, CBS 2 News

UWI Student Hoshane Langley

L–R: AFUWI Honoree Dennis Hawthorne; Rev. Dr. Valerie Oliver Durrah, Invocation Presenter; and Mr. Winston Wellington, Chair Emeritus of NEET, Negril, Jamaica West Indies.

emotional moment to the event. One student, Hoshane Langley, thanked his sponsor, The Door Restaurant, for the opportunity, which resulted in two internships at Ernst & Young. Another student, Kimberely Hibbert the daughter of a single parent, recounted the journey that led to her securing a job as a journalist at The Jamaica Observer. Jade Bowen, a student from Barbados also expressed his gratitude to AFUWI as he continues his studies at the Cave Hill campus. Donations may still be made to the Foundation through their website

L–R: Richard Funess, Dennis Hawthorne, Peter Finn, and Gail Moaney

April 2017 The Positive Community


Essex County College Celebrates Women’s History Month

L–R: Honorees at the Essex County College Tribute to Women: Professor Mamie Bridgeforth, retired ECC Human Resources Associate Director Yvonne Lowen, and ECC Library Director Gwendolyn Slaton

Photo credit: Daryl Hall

Members of the Planning Committee for the Women's luncheon celebration, and ECC acting President, Dr. A. Zachary Yamba (far right)


n recognition of Women’s History Month, Essex County College held a number of programs and forums throughout the month of March. The month’s activities culminated with a special salute to the 1982 founding of Women in Support of Essex (WISE) Women’s Center on the Newark campus. “This occasion celebrates the founders of WISE, who are women who had a wonderful vision that they saw to fruition,” said Dr. S. Aisha Steplight Johnson, dean of Liberal Arts, at the March 29 WISE luncheon celebration. “These strong women went beyond the walls of Essex County College and made the Women’s Center a model of caring,” said Acting President A. Zachary Yamba, who headed the college when the center was founded. He added that over the years, countless women (and men) found a refuge in WISE in the many courses, forums, and other programs offered. Although WISE is no longer a specific center on campus, a number of its courses are still offered through


The Positive Community April 2017

Essex’s Department of Continuing Education. Chair of the Division of Social Sciences Mamie Bridgeforth, Martin Luther King Jr. Library Director Gwendolyn Slaton, and retired Human Resources Associate Director Yvonne Lowen were honored at the luncheon for their key roles in establishing WISE. Those attending the luncheon also heard an audio tribute from Kara Smith, retired dean of students and one of the co-founders of WISE, who applauded everyone who helped bring the idea to fruition. Professor Bridgeforth recalled the organizers opting to meet in each other’s homes where they could discuss more freely the ideas they wanted for the center. “All along we were always in support of the college,” noted Ms. Lowen. “The spirit of WISE lives in all of us,” said Dr. Elvy Vieira, dean of Community & Continuing Education and Workforce Development. “Think about all the wonderful things that were done; we can carry the torch within us.”

East Orange Mayor Lester E. Taylor III, second from left, was welcomed by Langston Hughes School 5th graders Principal Dr. Vincent Stallings at right, a student, and a staff member at the Junior Achievement BizTown of NJ.

Langston Hughes School Students Learn about The World Of Work


t’s never too early for young people to learn about things that grown-ups have to tackle. Two recent programs at Langston Hughes School in East Orange gave students a peek into the world of work and finance. High School Heroes Teach Financial Literacy About 40 students from Newark’s North 13th Street Tech recently visited the East Orange elementary school as part of the Junior Achievement High School Heroes program to teach financial literacy concepts to students in classes from kindergarten through 4th grade. The High School Heroes are juniors and seniors who are part of the Business Department of the high school. In this program, students have an opportunity to take the business concepts learned in their classes, along with a lesson plan provided by Junior Achievement, and actually teach elementary school classes. The high school students worked in pairs in the elementary classroom, giving practical lessons on how to determine “needs versus wants,” how to spend money wisely, and how to stay within a budget. “We are kind of stakeholders; some of us actually want to be teachers,” said “hero” Jefferson Veras. “Junior Achievement saw it as an experience and opportunity to see how to work with kids in the classroom.’ “As a businessperson we need to develop our skills in public speaking and learn not be nervous in talking to a group,” added Jefferson’s partner for the day, Tamil Hill.

By g.r.mattox

“Our students get a taste of what it’s like to be a teacher through this program,” said 13th Street Tech’s business teacher Lillian Burke. “They have a different perspective when they come back to the classroom. We also want students to know about giving their talents and knowledge back to the community, which is why we come back to the community. It’s a win-win for both sets of students.” Fourth grader Makela Trotz said she learned a lot from the high school students, and was very interested in the success stories of inventors, entrepreneurs, and sports figures. “My favorite part was when we had to draw a picture of our own business, and then write a song or rap to attract consumers to our business,” she said. “We had to share what we did with the class.” Professionals Participate in Career Day Earlier in the month, 47 individuals covering a wide range of professions gathered at Langston Hughes for the school’s annual Career Day. Classes from pre-k to 5th grade got to hear at least four separate presentations. Marye E. Byrd, DVM, usually treats dogs and cats, but the veterinarian especially fascinated the students when she talked about the time she treated a polar bear, which was transported to her office in an ice cream truck. “These young people need to know they have options, and they need examples,” Dr. Byrd, a former East Orange resident and graduate of Clifford Scott (now Continued on page 63 April 2017 The Positive Community


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Revolutionary Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis’ Vision of God’s Love BY R.L. WITTER


fter speaking with Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, we might have to change the name of her church. Currently the pastor of Middle Collegiate Church (affectionately called “Middle”), a multiracial congregation in New York City, I’m having a bit of trouble associating Rev. Dr. Lewis with the word “middle.” I want to re name her church “Most High Collegiate,” “Paramount Collegiate,” or something else that reflects her dedication, commitment, and energy because “middle” (the word, not the church) just doesn’t do her justice. I caught up with Rev. Dr. Lewis as she touched down in Chicago for a family function. Despite crowds and the buzz of the airport, I didn’t detect any hint of jetlag. Instead, I spoke with a highly energized, impeccably poised woman who emits confidence and love across miles. You may have seen her on MSNBC, as that was my introduction to Rev. Dr. Lewis. If you have seen her, the first thing you had to notice is her striking beauty. Her bright eyes and warm smile seem to belong on television among the other beautiful people. But once you peel back that outer layer and begin to experience the person beneath the eyes and the smile, that’s when her true beauty is exposed. Lewis always knew she would go into ministry—eventually. “When I was a child I wanted to be Dr. Martin

Luther King, Jr.,” she recalled. “I was eight or nine and we were living in Chicago when he was murdered and I remember thinking, ‘If someone who is this much about love can be killed, I need to do something about this.’ It was pretty clear that he was working for everyone to be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin, dealing with the Vietnam War, and fighting for poor people, and I thought, ‘Well, that’s what I want to do, make the world better.’” It seemed that the path was laid out for her, but there were some detours and bumps in the road that made the journey a bit more difficult. “I wasn’t getting encouraged as a girl or as a woman to go into ministry,” Lewis explained. “I was really active in my church, I directed my choir, but I didn’t know I could go to seminary and be a minister.” So in the meantime, she headed up minority recruitment for multiracial STEM programs at Eastman Kodak and mentored through the Big Sisters program. She still heard the call to more, but didn’t know how to make it happen. But God always has a plan and will show you the way. So when Lewis lost her job at thirty years old, she enrolled at Princeton Theological Seminary and was on the path to where she felt she belonged. As we all are a sum of our experiences, Lewis’ recruiting experience and her study of Dr. King brought her to continued on next page April 2017 2017 The April ThePositive Positive Community Community

37 37


continued from previous page

the realization that her ministry would be one of bringing people of all races together to worship. “Dr, King said, ‘Eleven o’clock on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in Christian America.’ How can we be these Christian people and be segregated and then go to heaven and think we’re going to find some sort of liberated, beautiful place?’” Living on an Air Force base as a child informed her multiracial view of worship as well. “Air Force churches were sort of non-denominational, everyone-is-welcome kind of churches,” she reflected. “I think that kind of lives inside my soul as a vision. In a snapshot of time there was an Irish organist named Mrs. McGuire and a black Baptist choir director named Reba Dixon, and the music was great and the worship was joyful…” That vision is now being realized at Middle Collegiate Church. “I inherited a church that was mostly white with a few black people and Latino people,” Lewis recalled. “We’ve worked really hard in these last 13 years to push out our diversity to include Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and more black and Latino folks from different places. We must be the Beloved Community and congregations should give people an up-close chance to love their

38 The The Positive Positive Community Community 38

April April 2017 2017

neighbor, really know their neighbor, celebrate and not be afraid of diversity.” Eager to share her vision with others, Lewis is the cofounder of the Middle Project, which hosts an annual conference that aims to educate faith leaders in how to build multicultural congregations. This year marks the 11th annual conference titled “Revolutionary Love— Disruptive Ethics to Dismantle Racism” and will take

place at Middle Collegiate April 28–30, 2017. “It’s to help people to know how to do it, to think about how to worship, to think about how to manage change with conflict, to think about how to really deepen relationships, and I’m very excited about it.” While the conference attracts new participants each year, Lewis is always excited and encouraged by what she calls “repeat defenders,” people who return to the conference again to get more instruction, inspiration, and ideas as well as share their testimony. This year, national figures Van Jones, Shaun King, Bill Moyers, and Valerie Kaur will join Lewis at the conference to spread their messages of combatting racism, embracing all cultures, and respecting all faiths. Another area where the conference helps people is in having difficult discussions with others. These conversations are not just about race, but also alternative lifestyles and LBGTQ (lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender and queer) issues and the church. “Once we open the door to welcome, we have to welcome everyone,” Lewis explained. “I think the test through which we look at the

Bible is through the lens of love… To me, Jesus and His word are the litmus test for what it means to be faithful and He said nothing about women not leading, He said nothing about being gay. He said everything about love.” She continued, “That’s what convinced me that every human being is created in the image of God…and I think people who are gay are gay by design and we just need to love them and let God do the work of judging anyone who needs to be judged.” When asked what she’d like people to take from the conference and her leadership, Lewis replied without hesitation, “That love is a force for change and the guy I follow, Jesus the Christ, was a revolutionary lover… We’ve got to speak love; we’ve got to be the love in the world…” And with those words I was reminded of something my mother used to tell me as a child, “Love is a verb; love is action.” Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis is all about love and all about action. And if one, single iota of the love she puts out into the world is returned to her, there’s going to be an avalanche of love, and it will be revolutionary. April 2017 The Positive Community 39 April 2017 The Positive Community 39












We Must Educate for Democracy Susan A. Cole, President, Montclair State University.

A University President Speaks Out On The Future And Our Youth


have devoted my life to building institutions of public higher education, and I have done so because I am absolutely certain that providing a high quality higher education to as many people as possible is, in today’s world, an essential foundation to a free and democratic society. The struggle for a just society never gets easy, and we need to keep fighting for our children. We need to fight for schools that are safe havens for rigorous learning and the development of character, aspirations, courage, determination, and understanding. We need to fight against those who would usurp our schools for political reasons, or who seek to make money off our children, or who, through incompetence, bad policies, graft, or corruption, siphon away the resources that should be supporting the education of our children. We need to fight for the right of our children to nourishing food, decent and safe shelter, and competent and accessible health care, so they are fit and able to benefit by school. We need to fight for rational appropriations to support our public institutions of higher education and for state financial aid policies that do not, as they now do, penalize the tens of thousands of students who attend and who want to attend public higher education institutions. We are not there yet; this battle


The Positive Community April 2017

is not yet close to having been won. Too many of our children do not wake each day into a world where they feel able or welcome and encouraged to pursue their dreams. I speak to you today as the president of New Jersey’s second largest university, an institution of 21,000 students that for more than 100 years has dedicated itself to serving the higher education needs of our communities. Just in the last six or seven years, we have generated close to $13 million in federal grants to support Newark schools in programs such as the Urban Teacher Residency and for Mathematics education; we brought over $3 million in corporate and foundation grants to prepare excellent science teachers for the Newark schools, to support summer programs for students in environmental and computer science, to create bridge programs in the performing arts, and to support the professional development of teachers. We have raised scholarship funds for thousands of Newark students, and, today, there are about 3,500 students from Essex County, with the largest number from Newark, studying at the University. But, with all that the University has done, the efforts we have made have not been enough. We need to do more, and, today, I pledge to you that we will do more to contribute to your efforts.

I know, as surely as the sun rises in the morning and sets at night, that fully participating, productive, and creative citizens are not born into this world; they are made by education. We must educate for economic opportunity; we must educate for the pursuit of useful professions; we must educate for culture and the love of learning; but, above all else, we must educate for democracy. And that means educating citizens who are prepared to act responsibly in the world. It means teaching and modeling open-mindedness, fair and balanced pursuit of the facts, the maintenance of a broad perspective, respect for disagreement; it means teaching and modeling tolerance, decency, and fairness – the very hallmarks and foundations of the democratic society. Of course people with that kind of education will build a better world. And that is what we must aim for, and we must start at the beginning, with the birth of each child, and never forget that citizens are not born; they are made by education and by the efforts of all of us. Excerpted from keynote address, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 46th Annual Memorial Breakfast, The YMCA of Newark and Vicinity, January 13, 2017. Visit https://www.montclair. edu/president/news/article. php?ArticleID=17535 for full text.

“The Graduate School at Montclair State changed my life in so many ways – both professionally and personally. I met and learned from extraordinary people, and forged connections that will benefit me for years to come.” STANLEY FILS ’16 MBA IN MARKETING












21st Century Higher Education And Character Development At Christian Colleges


n March 28, 2017, the entrepreneur Elon Musk announced that he was forming a company, Neuralink, to develop a brain-computer interface. This announcement should leave us in no doubt that “neural lace” no longer belongs to the world of sci-fi, but that humanity has indeed begun a new chapter in its history. Artificial Intelligence, along with genetic and bioengineering, bionics and robotics, and a host of other emerging scientific fields are redefining what it means to be a human being. The visionary Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari notes that “Homo sapiens as we know them will disappear in a century or so,” and thus he posits in his celebrated new work Homo Deus that the age of the “man-god” has begun. For those of us in Christian higher education, we do not need the words of a best-selling historian to tell us that the curricula that small private liberal arts colleges have designed to prepare students for the “world of tomorrow” is totally inadequate to do this job. Moreover, for those of us who are committed to Christian character development and values education, we likewise don’t need a visionary to tell us how higher education is failing to develop character in tomorrow’s generation, the Millennial Generation.


The Positive Community April 2017

The challenge for the Christian college in the U.S. is thus to develop curricula that teach character and values to new generation of students, the first generation that will fully inhabit the technological 21st century and the world of “Homo Deus.” This is a world that must be influenced by biblical values of justice and reconciliation. The Christian college can no longer just teach value-systems in courses in philosophy, ethics and theology as adequate preparation for the millennial generation to live in the new world. We must develop the character needed to confront the techno world with traditional values and model the justice and reconciliation that these values demand. Christian college students must be prepared not just to live in this world but to live out the justice values of Judeo-Christian heritage. Our degree programs can no longer offer a full menu of courses and then expect that our students have developed the character necessary to live a values-oriented life. Our students are expecting to engage with us, the faculty and administrators in higher education, in a number of impactful ways that develop character: they want committed mentors; they want to engage in research projects with small teams of students and faculty; they want to work together with faculty and staff on community service projects; they want

to worship with faculty and staff in small groups; and they want to work with faculty and job supervisors on meaningful and in-depth internships. Our students are hungering for opportunities that will teach them how to act as the best of human beings are capable of acting. Only then will the 21st century realize the true Homo Deus as one that strives to realize justice and equality for all, instead of a Homo Deus, a man/god contrived through Artificial Intelligence. And, we, the administrators and faculty of private colleges must provide the mentoring and opportunities for small group community service, research and worship, and the internships that will provide the experiential learning so that students see the difference between acting within the framework of a Judeo-Christian value system and operating with the value-free framework of AI. Christian colleges are in the midst of a crisis as our society openly wonders if the education we offer is worth the cost or even relevant in the world in which we live. But, our traditional focus on values centered on justice and reconciliation, our small faculty-student ratios and our ability to adapt to changing conditions of the emerging techno world mean that we may be the best institutions to help students develop character in the 21st century.




800.876.9225 1 SOUTH BOULEVARD NYACK, NY 10960


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Classes conveniently scheduled on Saturdays and evenings Obtain a certificate after completing the first-year curriculum Life experience can count for academic credits Discuss current social issues Do fieldwork or an internship in a community or governmental agency Substitute teach after completing 60 credits Advance within your present career

“The Public Policy Program challenges you to see society in an unbiased way and how we can help administer a better future for everyone. The Saint Peter’s University Public Policy Program has taught me to think and act like a leader.” – Karen Fuentes ’14

Pathways to advanced degrees: Our programs are organized to allow all students, no matter what their higher educational backfround may be, to begin study and advance up to a graduate degree. Start with an Associate's Degree, complete your Bachelor's Degree and continue through the Master's program with fellow students, and a team of advisors dedicated to your success. • Associate Degree in Public Policy • Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Studies • Master of Public Administration



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Phone: (201) 761-6470

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Saint Peter’s University Public Policy Program


he fields of community affairs, local government, political office, public or private administration, human resources and urban planning are ever-growing and thriving. Saint Peter’s University offers programs that will help advance or prepare an individual for careers in these sectors. The public policy program is an innovative program designed for para-professional, entry-level government or social service workers who are also active in community, civic and volunteer organizations.

in a wide-variety of fields including research analysis, program development and planning, human services, business, education and social science research. Coursework can also be combined with internship and research opportunities.

als with a bachelor’s degree who are considering continuing their education. The program prepares graduates with the knowledge and skills required of successful public servants, non-profit workers and private sector employees working towards the public good.

Students who have completed the public policy program at Saint Peter’s University have landed jobs in a widevariety of federal, state, local and non-profit agencies in fields related to healthcare, education, job training and other areas related to social justice.

There are multiple options offered to help students be successful in these fields. Saint Peter’s offers an associate's or bachelor's degree in public policy and a master’s degree in public administration.

Amayia Gomez ’10, came to Saint Peter’s as a mother with a full-time career. She was undecided about her major and her career plans when she first came to campus, but her dreams to work in the community in a public health position inspired her to investigate the public policy program. “I think the professors are very knowledgeable and well-rounded, so they bring different perspectives to the program,” she said. “I knew I found the right place when the department helped me define my vision and guided me hand-in-hand the whole way. My educational plans turned from an unreachable dream into a realistic goal at Saint Peter’s.”

Saint Peter’s University offers a host of advantages to potential students of the program given the University’s commitment to issues of social justice and a clear mission to serve communities. Additionally, the University’s close proximity to the United Nations and the maintenance of a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status, provides students with a unique “laboratory” experience in the work and practices of an international organization.

The flexible schedule of Saturday and evening classes is geared toward busy, working and mature adults. What makes the public policy program stand out is the approach to education. This approach is called “experiential learning,” which simply means that the starting focus of Saint Peter’s classes is the students’ own personal experiences, coupled with that of the experiences of fellow students and staff. Saint Peter’s examines life conditions in the communities in which the students live and work and the public policies that have shaped them. Graduates from the public policy program will be prepared for a career

In 2013 the University introduced the master’s program in public administration. The program provides an excellent next step for graduates of the public policy program or for individu-

Saint Peter’s University has a history of educational excellence and commitment to service in the Jesuit tradition since 1872. That, combined with the experiential learning approach, makes this program stand apart from the rest. The main campus location made up of nearly 25 acres is in the heart of Jersey City, N.J. and can be easily accesed by car or public transportaion via the Journal Square PATH station. To learn more about the public policy and public administration program, please call the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies Admission at (201) 761-6470 or visit us April 2017 The Positive Community
















Drew Theological School—a community of scholars, ministers and activists gathered on a beautiful, wooded campus—has trained rooted, innovative and courageous leaders for 150 years for service to the Church, the academy and society. We are a diverse and open community that dares to pursue the love, wisdom and justice at the heart of the transformative gospel of Jesus Christ. We are proudly grounded in the Wesleyan/Methodist tradition of bold ideas that impact people’s lives for the good. We believe that when ancient wisdom is in lively engagement with contemporary challenges, great things are possible. Meet your mentor. Our faculty—adventurous scholars and engaging teachers—are leaders in theology, biblical studies, liturgy and social ethics. They don’t settle for easy answers or empty pieties. Innovative and provocative, they challenge you and each other. Our alums say working with their faculty mentors was among the most valuable experiences of their Drew education. Less sitting. More doing. We expect you to read, write and discuss things that matter— yet we firmly believe that real-world experiences—through which you apply, test, challenge and assess what you learn in the classroom—are essential to a modern theological education. You’ll do this through ministry placements, internships and cross-cultural courses around the world, in virtual classrooms, at a community garden, in a prison. We prepare students for the real world IN the real world. Authentic community. The circle is wide. The engagement is deep. Second career and twenty-somethings collaborate on projects. African American gospel music resounds from the chapel. Students practice sermons—in Korean and Spanish. Students, faculty and staff pray, eat, learn, sing and travel together. We disagree, misunderstand and struggle—together. Ready to join our community? Please contact the Office of Theological Admissions at 973.408.3111,

Drew University I Madison, NJ I


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Theological School




Interdisciplinary courses that demand out-of-the-box thinking. Apprenticeship training that addresses real-world issues. Modes of learning that promote adaptability and innovation. WE OFFER FIVE DEGREE PROGRAMS: Master of Divinity (MDiv)

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n Study in one or more disciplines in religious studies n Tailored to student’s interests and goals

n Advanced interdisciplinary study and research in the academic theological disciplines n Equips university and college teachers, thought leaders and public intellectuals

Master of Sacred Theology (STM) n Advanced study to augment previous theological education n For deepening ministry or preparing for doctoral work

Drew University I Madison, NJ

Contact us today at 973.408.3111, or visit us at

Social Justice A











Rutgers Senior Awarded Prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship Chelsie Riche, Class of 2017 School of Arts and Sciences Rutgers University–New Brunswick


hen Rutgers University senior Chelsie Riche applied for graduate fellowships, the Gates Cambridge Scholarship stood out because of the program’s commitment to scholars working for the greater good. “The scholarship resonates with what I’ve been doing at Rutgers,” says Riche, 21, who has focused her research and activism on providing access to education for marginalized communities. Riche is one of 36 students nationwide awarded the prestigious scholarship to pursue graduate studies at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Majoring in Africana studies and history with a minor in women’s gender studies in the Rutgers University--New Brunswick School of Arts and Sciences, Riche also is drawn to Cambridge because of its renowned Centre for African Studies, established in 1965. “I wanted to be a part of that,” Riche says, noting she will pursue a master’s degree in African studies and research on the Fees Must Fall student-led protest movement against increases in fees at South African universities. “I’ll be looking at how the student revolutionaries who are leading the Fees Must Fall movement are using


The Positive Community April 2017

social media as platforms to motivate students to get more involved,” says Riche, also a member of Douglass Residential College at Rutgers. Established in 2000, the scholarships funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation cover all fees and living expenses for a student’s full-time master’s or doctoral studies at Cambridge, one of the oldest and most esteemed universities in the world. Counting Riche’s award, Rutgers claims nine Gates Cambridge scholars in the last 10 years, says Arthur Casciato, director of the Office of Distinguished Fellowships for Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “Riche is one of the most genuine fellowship candidates I’ve ever met – genuine in all of her commitments: to her studies at Cambridge, to the research she wants to do and to her efforts to make the world the best place it can be.” Riche is deeply passionate about all children having access to quality education. Growing up in Haiti, she was one of the few children in her family able to go to school, so she would teach her cousins who did not attend what she learned in the classroom. After arriving in the United States in 2006, she excelled in her schoolwork in her hometown, Irvington. However,

Riche struggled during her first year at Rutgers as a first-generation student trying to navigate college life and a rigorous academic schedule. She said the experience made her realize that the same economic barriers to education she thought she had left behind in Haiti exist in the U.S. Rather than discourage Riche, the epiphany led her to get more involved helping other students. She helped plan the first Student of Color Conference. She served as president of the Galvanizing and Organizing Youth Activism (GOYA) organization, where she planned 5k walks to promote literacy and collected school supplies for local and global communities. In the spring of 2016, she traveled to Cape Town, South Africa, to participate in a servicelearning program at Ned Doman High School, collaborating with the University of Cape Town to facilitate college readiness workshops for more than 90 learners. The following summer she interned for Sen. Cory Booker (DN.J.), working with his senior team on education policy and on civil rights and social justice issues. Riche says after the one-year fellowship at Cambridge she aims to obtain a PhD/JD in education and law “to hopefully influence education reform policy.”

At Rutgers, our students use their world-class education to promote social justice. Meet graduating senior and first-generation college student, Chelsie Riche. Chelsie is one of only 36 U.S. winners of the prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship. The award is given to the most socially committed and academically exceptional students in the world. In the last 10 years, Rutgers has produced a total of nine Gates Cambridge scholars.

A Brilliant Mind for Social Justice Chelsie Riche, Class of 2017 School of Arts and Sciences Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Uncommon Schools: Committed to Positive Co-Locations

Three NYC public school principals who model collaboration for other public schools: (lleft to right) Patricia King, Nisah Brinson and Justin Pigeon.


n a small library in a Brooklyn public school building recently, Uncommon Schools Bedford Stuyvesant Collegiate Charter School Principal Justin Pigeon helped one of his teachers analyze student work in order to figure out the best way to re-teach a lesson that students had difficulty with. They were not alone. Just a few feet away, watching this principal-teacher meeting unfold, were Patricia King, the principal of M.S. 267, and some of her staff members, as well as Nisah Brinson, the principal of La Cima Charter School. The principals have long shared a building where their schools are “co-located.” But they share so much more than just a building. The two other principals were taking notes on how Mr. Pigeon guided the teacher to help him understand the students’ gaps and then helped him brainstorm how to close those gaps with students. A few weeks later, Mr. Pigeon was at Ms. King’s school downstairs, and he watched her give one of her teachers feedback. It is one of many ways that the principals of all three schools—two of them public charter schools and the third a district school—collaborate on instruction to benefit all of the students in the building.

Indeed, that collaboration has been so successful that the schools are one of only five building teams selected by the New York City Department of Education to be exemplar models of collaboration among co-located schools for the entire city. “We felt really honored and humbled to be chosen as one of only five campuses across over 2,000 district and charter schools in the city to show how well we collaborate,” said Mr. Pigeon. “Not only do we want to share and work with our colleagues downstairs, our school has benefitted tremendously from drawing from things we’ve learned in the district school.” About half of all schools in the city are co-located, and the majority of those co-locations involve only district schools, not charters. Co-locations can sometimes be controversial when schools within a building don’t get along and the acrimony rises to the level of media attention. Less covered by the media are the positive co-locations like the one led by Mr. Pigeon and Ms. King. Bedford-Stuyvesant Collegiate Charter School is part of the Uncommon Schools’ network of 22 schools in Brooklyn. With the majority of its schools in co-located buildings, Un-

common Schools has long been committed to ensuring its co-location relationships with other schools are positive and productive. Uncommon’s Excellence Girls, for instance, and the district school it shares a building with started an after-school program focused on sports and the arts that provides families of both schools free, consistent after care. At the sprawling South Side campus in Canarsie, Uncommon Prep Charter High School worked with its partners in the building to create a beautification plan for the first floor. Students of all the schools in the building play on the PSAL football team together as well as are involved in enrichment programs together like the Comic Book Club. Beyond ensuring that co-locations are relationships that work for all of the students in a building, Uncommon Schools has a broader collaboration with the DOE around professional development. Uncommon has trained over 600 DOE educators in the past three years. At the request of Chancellor Farina, Uncommon built a partnership with Districts 19 and 23, which cover East New York, Ocean Hill and Brownsville. This year, Uncommon trained new DOE teachers across four districts in Central Brooklyn. April 2017 The Positive Community













People’s Prep Charter School


ichie Vo, Class of 2019, is a member of the first graduating class at People’s Prep Charter School. Richie is the embodiment of our Core Values of Grit and Achievement in his postgraduate studies. He began his college career at Essex County College to study nursing. He worked very hard, earned a 3.0 GPA, and just transferred to William Paterson University. He is now studying biology in pursuit of a career in medicine in the ER. Richie is not only dedicated to his studies but also to his family. He visits home often and is a role model to his younger siblings. Richie has always worked and still holds a job even while in college. Ms. K, People’s Prep’s alumni coordinator, has enjoyed working with Richie as he continues his journey to com-


The Positive Community April 2017

plete our school’s mission of graduating from the college of his choice. "Richie impresses me every time we meet. He is not only dedicated to his family, but to his school work and to his future. We’re exciting to see him thriving in college." People’s Prep is a stand-alone, independent charter high school whose mission is for all students to graduate from the college of their choice as informed, involved, and resilient citizens. Opened in 2011, People’s Prep has had two graduating classes with a graduation rate of 90% and a college acceptance rate of 85%. We provide a robust college prep program for ALL Newark students; there are no academic requirements and no tuition needed to attend. To lean more, visit us at!

It’s Happening at

Columbia in April

TUESDAY, APRIL 4-SATURDAY, APRIL 8 Weaving: Cognition, Technology, Culture 10:00 A.M. TO 4:00 P.M. Various locations, Morningside campus This conference kicks off with a lecture the evening of April 4 and continues with four days of workshops that explore the cultural significance of this ancient technology and the broader issues of craft as cognition. Free and open to the public but registration required. Visit for more info and to register.

TUESDAY, APRIL 4 The End of Europe




Follow the Money: Offshore Finance, Russia, and Beyond

Environmental Justice as Racial Justice

Creative Writing Lecture: Mitchell S. Jackson

6:00 P.M. TO 8:00 P.M. Brown Institute, Pulitzer Hall, Morningside campus

4:20 P.M. TO 6:10 P.M. Case Lounge, Jerome Greene Hall, 435 W. 116 St., Morningside campus

7:00 P.M. TO 9:00 P.M. 501 Dodge, 2960 Broadway, Morningside campus

Three experts with diverse professional experiences provide unique contributions to better comprehend the research methodologies and reporting related to this important global phenomenon. Free and open to the public but registration required. For more info and to register, visit

Christine Appah-Gyamfi, senior staff attorney in the Environmental Justice Program at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, will lead this workshop. For more info, contact Elizabeth Boylan at (212) 854-1951 or eb2596@

Jackson’s debut novel, The Residue Years, was praised by The New York Times, The Paris Review, and The Times of London, among others. For more info, contact Gavin Browning at (212) 8519567 or

THURSDAY, APRIL 6 In the Skin of the City: António Ole

5:00 P.M. TO 6:30 P.M. Bohemian National Hall, 321 E. 73 St.

5:00 P.M. TO 7:00 P.M. 207 Knox, 606 W. 122 St., Morningside campus

Join journalist James Kirchick, author of The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues and the Coming Dark Age, and Pulitzer-prize winning columnist Anne Applebaum for a riveting discussion on the challenges Europe is facing—and why Americans should care. Visit events for more info.

António Tomás of University of Cape Town discusses how Ole’s photographs can be interpreted as countering the official narrative of colonization, in trying to portray urban development in Luanda, Angola as an index of its civilizing mission in Africa. Call(212) 8544633 or email, for more info.

Music at St. Paul’s: Dina Foster-Osborne 6:00 P.M. TO 7:00 P.M. St. Paul’s Chapel, Morningside campus This week’s performance features organist Dina Foster-Osborne with trumpet accompaniment. Free and open to the public. Email sports@sps for more info.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5 Follow the Money: Offshore Finance, Russia, and Beyond

SATURDAY, APRIL 8 Composer Portrait: Johannes Maria Staud 8:00 P.M. TO 10:00 P.M. Miller Theatre, 2960 Broadway, Morningside campus A transformer of mediums, Staud takes literature, political events, even streets he’s walked down, and creates music. Audiences will hear an evening of inspired music. Visit or call (212) 854-7799 for more info.

6:00 P.M. TO 8:00 P.M. Brown Institute, Pulitzer Hall, Morningside campus


Three experts with diverse professional experiences provide unique contributions to better comprehend the research methodologies and reporting related to this important global phenomenon. Free and open to the public but registration required. For more info and to register, visit

1:00 P.M. Dick Savitt Tennis Center, W. 218 St. and Broadway

Women’s Tennis vs. Princeton

For tickets, the full team schedule, and more info, visit or call (212) 942-7100.·

For disability services, call (212) 854-2284 prior to the event.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12 Scientific Delusions About Race 4:10 P.M. TO 5:10 P.M. Low Library Rotunda, Morningside campus Dorothy Roberts will deliver the inaugural Mamie Phipps Clark and Kenneth B. Clark Distinguished Lecture Award, which recognizes extraordinary contributions of a senior scholar in the area of race and justice.

THURSDAY, APRIL 20 Outdoor Movie Screening: Moana 7:30 P.M. TO 10:00 P.M. South Lawn, Morningside campus Free outdoor screening of Moana. Grab a blanket and claim your spot early. Call (212) 854-3612 or email, for more info.



Young Writers Present

Baseball vs. Cornell

12:30 P.M. TO 2:30 P.M. Lenfest Hall, 425 W. 121 St., Morningside campus

NOON AND 3:00 P.M. Robertson Field at Satow Stadium, W. 218 St. and Broadway Doubleheader. For tickets, the full team schedule, and more info, visit

Readings from New York City high school students of Columbia Artists/ Teachers. For more info, contact Gavin Browning at (212) 851-9567 or

Lifelong Learners and Course Auditing Columbia provides scholarships for 50 residents of Manhattanville Houses, Grant Houses, and the local community who are 65 years of age and older to audit up to two courses per year. Administered through the School of Professional Studies, the Lifelong Learners Program is designed for individuals committed to the principles of lifelong education. The University also funds up to 50 courses per year for 25 residents of Manhattanville and Grant Houses and 25 residents of the local community. This program provides adults not currently enrolled in college with the opportunity to attend up to two lectures drawn from the arts and sciences. Since there is limited space available to auditors, seats are taken on a first-come, first-served basis once registration is open. Applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as courses are posted (1 month prior to the start of classes). For more info, call (212) 854- 9666 or visit

Columbia University in the city of new york


very community deserves a great public education system that offers high-quality educational options for all students and families. Whether that’s a great public charter school, traditional public school, magnet school or vocational school, what really matters is that there is a healthy, vibrant and resilient ecosystem that supports and maintains a portfolio of great public school options for parents and children in Newark. As a champion of every child across Newark, I’m fighting to ensure all of our children have access to great public schools that nurture their talents and support their growth. The reality is that great public schools that are responsive to the needs of children and families, regardless of their governance, lift all of us up. When the Newark Charter School Fund (NCSF) launched in 2008, the educational landscape in Newark was quite different. The district had been under state control for over a decade, return to local control seemed like a distant dream and high-quality public school options for children were limited. Charter schools were just beginning to make inroads across the city, so our explicit focus was to build capacity and space for high-quality public charter schools in Newark. Over the past eight years, NCSF has successfully supported the quality, growth and sustainability of the Newark public charter school sector. The charter sector in Newark now serves over onethird of all public school students and is recognized as one of the top-achieving sectors in the nation in terms of both reading and math impact. As the public charter sector grew,

Great Public Schools In Newark Lift All Of Us Up NCSF’s role evolved, transforming into a leading voice for quality public education here in Newark and across the state. We learned that in order to meet the needs of Newark children and families, collaboration and partnership is vital for the success of all Newark children. Over 40 percent of Newark’s charter school parents also have a child in a district school. Doing our work well means building bridges with Newark Public Schools, elected officials, parents and other communityrooted partners. NCSF has fostered collaboration between charter and district schools, working to break down the “us versus them” mentality. A majority of Newark charter schools joined forces with Newark Public Schools to participate in Newark Enrolls, a common enrollment system that in the four years since its implementation has steadily improved and is now successfully serving the interests of all students and families. Today’s educational landscape in Newark looks quite different than when we first began our work. The return to local control is imminent, there are more high-quality public school options than ever before and there’s a real willingness across our community to work together to better meet the needs of Newark’s children and families. Within this altered landscape, NCSF is deepening its concentration on high-quality education growth – whether it’s a public charter school or a traditional school (or some other educational option that meets the needs of our children) – to achieve an excellent education system that supports all children and families across our community. NCSF is committed now more than ever to creating

great public schools. The progress we have made over the last decade shows us that the best way to shape the future is to participate in the present. On April 25th, Newark will hold the School Advisory Board Election. This election presents Newarkers with the first real opportunity to influence the future of Newark Public Schools and, consequently, Newark’s public education landscape. On the eve of the return to local control, the incoming board members will, for the first time in over 20 years, have the opportunity to hire their own superintendent and make decisions that they alone will have to own. I urge community members to get involved in Newark’s education conversation and go out and vote in the upcoming school board election. We need a School Advisory Board comprised of diverse voices, who are willing to fight for the interests of all Newark families and who understand that our families deserve access to high-quality educational options for their children. The return to local control presents a unique opportunity for meaningful collaboration to forge a great future for our children. I am ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with the school district, parents and other community stakeholders to build on the progress we have made, as we chart our shared pathway forward. United, we can deliver transformational change to our city’s education system and ensure every child has the capacity to achieve greatness when he or she has access to great schools and teachers. Michele Mason is the Executive Director of the Newark Charter School Fund (NCSF). April 2017 The Positive Community


Women Of Distinction

Assemblywoman Dickens Honors Women

L–R: Paul Staley, community liaison for Assemblywoman Dickens; Eleanor Kennedy, mother of NYS Supreme Court Judge Tanya Kennedy; Donel Davis; Kim Parker, executive director New York Black Bar Association; Londel Davis; Faye Rodney, publisher Carib News; Assemblywoman Inez Dickens; Tony Rogers (accepting for Harlem News Publisher Pat Stevenson); Columnist Victoria Horsford, NY Beacon; Peter Gillo, The Positive Community; and Athena Moore, candidate for New York City, Council


on. Inez Dickens, New York State Assemblywoman, hosted “Women of Distinction” at an awards breakfast on March 19, 2017 in recognition of Women’s History Month at the Adam Clayton Powell Office Building in Harlem. Women in various fields including media, law, business, and politics were anong those receiving proclamations from the New York State Assembly for their accomplishments and contributitions helping to make a better community.

A woman of distinction herself, Dickens was first elected to office in 1990 as a state committeewoman and district leader, and eventually rose through the ranks. Inez became the council member for the 9th New York City Council District in 2006, serving the communities of Central Harlem, Morningside Heights, East Harlem, and parts of the Upper West Side. During her tenure in office, Inez brought millions of dollars in services and resources to her community and to economically distressed communities throughout the city of New York.


�aster! HE IS RISEN 56

The Positive Community April 2017

20 Years of Celebrating 20Celebrating Years of Theological Education! Theological Education! CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS Theological Studies Biblical Studies Systematic Theology Pastoral Counseling Diaconal Studies Chaplaincy

Rev. R. Douglas Bendall, Ph.D. Founder and President 973-297-0505

1997-2017 1997-2017


A unique school in Newark known for its academic excellence, Theological Studies Biblical affordable tuition, andStudies care for its students. Systematic Theology

Pastoral Counseling FOR PERSONS WHO WALK THROUGH WALLS Diaconal Studies Chaplaincy


A unique school in Newark known for its academic excellence, affordable tuition, and care for its students. Rev. R. Douglas Bendall, Ph.D. Founder and President 973-297-0505

FOR PERSONS WHO WALK THROUGH WALLS Parag Mehta Honorable Inez E. Dickens

Principal PM Architecture

Honorable Patricia Anne Williams

Leah Abraham

Assemblywoman NYS Assembly District 70

NYS Supreme Court Justice

Barbara Askins

President & CEO 125th Street Business Improvement District

President & Founder Settepani

Special Presentations to

Founding & Former Board Members

Thursday, April 27, 2017 Marina del Rey One Marina Drive, Throgs Neck, NY 10465 Reception 6pm | Dinner 7pm For tickets visit or call 212-281-4887, ext. 236

Rev. Dr. John E. Carrington

Rev. Dr. Adolph Roberts

April 2017 The Positive Community


Rev. Dr. Terry L. Richardson and First Lady NaDeen Richardson

Culture L I F E , M U S I C , A R T & L I T E R AT U R E

20th Pastoral Anniversary The Richardsons of First Baptist Church of South Orange

Guest speaker Dr. Warren L. Dennis, Professor Emeritus of New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and Pastor Richardson


irst Baptist Church of South Orange celebrated the 20th Pastoral Anniversary of Rev. Dr. Terry L. Richardson and First Lady NaDeen on Sunday, February 19, 2017. The service was held at The Woodland in Maplewood, N.J. The church donated over $30,000 to several organizations to help build our community.

L–R: Pastor Richardson, First Lady Nadeen, and sons, Deven and Jeremiah Richardson

Anniversary Committee: L–R: Deacon Chris Edwards, Akindra Daniels, Dania Edouard, Leah Dade, First Lady NaDeen Richardson, Pastor Richardson, Artrice Ritchwood, Deaconess Mary Dawson, Trustee Robin Neal, Georgella Wyne, and Alycia Banks.


The Positive Community April 2017

Visit Our New Bold Website! APR 27–29, 8PM

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and vocalists Kenny Washington and Roberta Gambarini ROSE THEATER



MAY 3, 7PM • MAY 4, 7PM & 9PM

MICHAEL FEINSTEIN: THE MUSIC OF MEL TORMÉ Michael Feinstein with Maddie Baillio, Ann Hampton Callaway, Billy Stritch, and the Tedd Firth Big Band THE APPEL ROOM

MAY 5–6, 7PM & 9:30PM

JOHN SCOFIELD RETROSPECTIVE: QUIET AND LOUD JAZZ Guitarist and 2017 Grammy Award– winner John Scofield with Gary Grainger, Jim Beard, Dennis Chambers, Bill Stewart, Larry Grenadier, Joe Lovano, and more THE APPEL ROOM

MAY 19–20, 7PM & 9:30PM


venue frederick p. rose hall box office broadway at 60th st., ground fl. centercharge 212-721-6500 @jazzdotorg JAZZ.ORG

April 2017 The Positive Community


Stefanie R. Minatee (Rev. Stef), artistic director and founder, Jubilation

Keynote Speaker Roland Martin, host of News One Now, journalist, syndicated columnist, and author

Where Do We Go from Here? Black History Month Community Baptist of Englewood


t was, indeed, a glorious celebration of Black History at Community Baptist Church of Englewood, hosted by Rev. Stefanie Minatee with performances by her magnificent choir, Jubilation. The presentation, titled “Where Do We Go from Here?” featured Roland Martin, television journalist and syndicated columnist, who gave a thought provoking speech. Teenage jazz vocalist phenom, Alexis Morrast brought the congregation to their feet singing “God Bless the Child Who Has His Own.” Rev. Minatee is an associate minister at Community Baptist. Rev. Dr. Lester W. Taylor is the pastor. —JNW

L–R: Kim Nesbitt and Rev. Dr. Lester Taylor

L–R: Alexis Morrast, Bishop George Searight, and Rev. Louise Roundtree

Photos: Karen Waters

Jubilation choir

Community B.C. congregation


The Positive Community April 2017

Photos: Issac Harper

L–R: Dr Keith Byrd, PNBC Eastern Region President; Pastor Frank Blackshear, Greater Zion Hill BC; Dr Thomas D Johnson, NYPBSC president; Dr Sandra Gould, NYPBSC 2nd vice president; Dr Major L Jemison, pastor St John. BC OK; Dr Robert Linden, NYPBSC vice president-at-large; Rev Akin Royal, NYPBSC 1st vice president L–R: Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III and Rev. Dr. Frank J. Blackshear

A Life and Ministry Focused on God (2 Cor. 4:1-5) Pastor Frank J. Blackshear’s 40th Pastoral Anniversary Celebration


everend Dr. Frank J. Blackshear's 40th Anniversary was held on March 4th, 2017, at The Eastwood Manor, Bronx, NY. Family, friends, and colleagues gathered to pay tribute to the pastor of Greater Zion Hill Baptist Church in Harlem. In a stirring homage to their pastor, the congregation sent these sentiments: Pastor Blackshear, Christ flows through you with gratitude for your service to Him, and to us at Greater Zion Hill Baptist Church.  Your ministry has touched the lives of many, and is a tangible expression of God's love.  May He continue to bless you and keep you in His care.  We have been blessed beyond measure. With sincere appreciation and deep affection, your sons and daughters in Greater Zion Hill Baptist Church.

L–R: Rev. Dr. Frank J. Blackshear, center with his son, Frank L. Blackshear, and grandson, Min. Christopher Williams

TPC publisher Adrian A. Council, was on hand to express his gratitude for Dr. Blackshear’s encouragement, wisdom, and foresight. In 1999, he introduced a newsletter called Positive Community News to the membership of the Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Greater NY and Vicinity. As president of this clergy leadership institution, Dr. Blackshear advocated on our behalf. On April 18th, 1999 in a memo to colleagues and business leaders he wrote: “…The Baptist Ministers Conference of Greater NY and Vicinity is proud to introduce a new product—The Positive Community Newsletter. We are excited about this new medium which will serve as a vehicle to inform our member congregations about the latest news and developments within the Black Baptist Church Community.” In September 2000, The Positive Community published its first edition as a magazine…And the rest is history! Happy Anniversary Dr. Blackshear from all of us at The Positive Community! April 2017 The Positive Community



“A superb new play

throbbing with heartfelt life.”




Original Off-Broadway cast photo: Pari Dukovic; Design: Drewdesignco/Area of Practice


The Positive Community April 2017

Pastor Rev. LaVerne McCain Gill Leads Symposium Rev. LaVerne McCain Gill


Book Talk on Women, Spirituality, Health and Wellness At the Church of the Covenant


n the midst of the UN Women’s, 61st Commission on the Status of Women, The Faith, Health, and Wellness Ministry of the Church of the Covenant hosted two special events in March during its commemoration of Women’s History Month. Author and Retired Pastor Rev. LaVerne McCain Gill led a symposium and book talk on March 18 and led a special worship service on Saturday, March 19. Rev. Gill, a trained Spiritual Director, has authored six books: African American Women in Congress, which was nominated for the New Jersey Humanities Award; Daughters of Dignity: African Biblical Women and the Virtues of Wom-

LANGSTON HUGHES Continued from page 35

Photo: Wali Amin Muhammad

Campus High), said. “They can do anything; I want them to know anything is possible.” Langston Hughes School Principal Dr. Vincent Stallings was grateful to the individuals at both events who came to impart their expertise to his students. “It was quite amazing to see students and volunteers so engaged in these learning processes,” he said. “The Langston Hughes family really appreciates these busy professionals and high school students for taking time out of their schedules to share with us.” Fifth Graders visit MetLife JA BizTown The Langston Hughes 5th graders received special lessons and experience when they visited the MetLife JA BizTown® of New Jersey at Giants Stadium. The facility combines in-class learning with a day-long visit to a simulated town. The program allows students to operate banks, manage restaurants, write checks, and vote for mayor. It helps students to connect the dots between what they learn in school and the real world. "I was CFO of Walmart," said Stephanie Delouis. "I printed out checks and distributed them to my employees." "It was fun but a little stressful,” said Jimena Delarosa, who worked as an assistant manager of a credit union. “You had to do a lot of paperwork and stuff. But it gives you responsibility and you find out what it is to work.”

anhood; Vashti’s Victory; My Mother Prayed for Me; Faith and Kidney Disease; and Reston’s African American Legacy. Her life includes several “historic firsts” including the first African American and the first woman to pastor the historic Webster United Church of Christ in Ann Arbor, Michigan; and the first African American UCC Chaplain at the Chautauqua Institute in New York. While pastoring, she simultaneously began a nine-year ministry in Ghana, West Africa, worked at a refugee camp, supported a street children's ministry, a leprosy ministry, a scholarship program, built eleven water wells, and raised $100,000 to support those efforts. She has several advanced degrees and numerous awards including: the Olivet College Humanitarian Award, the prestigious United Church of Christ Antoinette Brown Award for excellence in ministry and preaching, and the James Jenkins Pillar of Faith Award by Howard University School of Divinity and the UCC Central Atlantic Conference. Her career highlights also include training high school teachers in Ethiopia and travelling to Cuba as a part of an international delegation in support of Cuban woman.

Rev. Drew Warren, associate minister, Mennonite Infinity Church

Rev. LaVerne McCain Gill and Rev. Cornell Edmonds April 2017 The Positive Community


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Yannick Lebrun. Photo by Andrew Eccles.

Mother’s Day Weekend May 12-14

3 NJ Premieres including Untitled America, Ella and r-Evolution, Dream.

Peppa Pig’s Big Splash Live! Thursday, April 27 at 6pm An action-packed live show featuring your favorite characters as life-size puppets and costume characters!

John Steptoe’s Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters

Will Downing Mother’s Day Celebration

Saturday, May 6 at 2pm A thrilling adaptation of John Steptoe’s tale of mystical Africa.

Saturday, May 13 at 7:30pm Sunday, May 14 at 7pm Celebrate Mother’s Day with one of the greatest voices in R&B!

Earthquake’s Father’s Day Comedy Show

Delray Davis, Donnell Rawlings, Luenell & DC Young Fly Sunday, June 18 at 7pm Earthquake returns with a side-splitting Father’s Day Celebration.

Chaka Khan El Debarge Friday, June 23 at 8pm R&B hits with Chaka Khan (“I Feel for You,” “Through the Fire”) and El DeBarge (“All This Love,” “Rhythm of the Night”).

Coming this April—Wayne Shorter Weekend!

DMX, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Mobb Deep & DJ Chuck Chillout The Art of Rap Friday, June 30 at 8pm Art of Rap brings together some of the best-known artists in hip-hop.

Bring It! Live

Jill Scott

Thursday, July 13 at 8pm Fans get a chance to be part of the action when Miss D and her Dancing Dolls perform never-seen routines live on stage!

Saturday, July 15 at 8pm The three-time GRAMMYwinning singer and songwriter performs her sensuous R&B hits like “He Loves Me” and “Fool’s Gold.”

Esperanza Spalding

Wayne Shorter

April 20-23

Featuring Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Herbie Hancock, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Christian McBride, Joe Lovano and more! Part of the TD Bank Jazz Series



Positive Communit_ april Ad_7x9.5.indd 1

3/30/17 4:10 PM


Briana “Bri” Babineaux Shares the Keys to Her Heart GRACE & PEACE


t’s amazing what social media can do and how effective it can be for your life. I know this is a thing we don’t talk about, but this generation has taken advantage of what some may call “the Devil.” Whenever we misuse things, it can definitely have some kind of negative effect in your life. However, it is always possible to take any situation from negative to positive, and that is what this young lady has done. Ms. Bri (Briana Babineaux) has taken the platform of Instagram and made it her stage of worship and become an overnight sensation. It all started when Bri was depressed after a romantic breakup and some friends encouraged her to go out with them to get her mind off of her heartache, and she started to sing Tonex’s “Make Me Over.” One of her friends posted a video of it on YouTube around 3:00 AM and within hours, her riveting cover had gone viral. “I guess I was releasing all of my hurt and emotion out through the song,” Bri recalls. That one video kicked off the #Brination phenomenon and her new fans began to request that she sing specific songs. She began to cover a variety of songs on social media and with each new video, her fan base increased to the point that Bri was being courted by some of the top R&B producers to sign major labels. But there was a problem. “I didn’t want to sing R&B,” she confessed. “I really don’t even listen to much R&B music. If I was going to sing for anybody, I wanted to sing for God.” Within less than a year, she’s become one of the most buzzed about singers on social media and has caught the attention of superstars like Rhianna, Brandy, and Drake to add to her nearly 400,000 Instagram fans and counting. Although she may have secular appeal, Bri is definitely representing the Kingdom of God. After

turning down several offers to record R&B music, the Louisiana native released her debut gospel song “I’ll Be The One,” a song that defines a sincere heart that knows the way of Our Lord and is willing to be the one who will say and do whatever God says. And now her debut album, Keys To My Heart (Marquis Boone Enterprises, LLC/Tyscot Records, LLC), is available everywhere and earned her three Stellar Award nominations for New Artist of the Year, Contemporary Female Vocalist of the Year, and in the Albertina Walker Female Vocalist of the Year category. The singer will also present an award at the 32nd annual Stellar® Awards and believe me, she is excited! A young person who has been through hurt and disappointment at an early age putting together an album can either be a hit or miss in lyrical value. But in this case, its relatable to all generations because, well let’s be honest, we’ve all been through hurt and pain and how we deal with it can bring you down —or build you up if you turn it over to the one who loves you more than anyone, our Father. “We can go day after day and smile like we’re okay in front of people, but God sees the heart,” Bri explained. “He sees the things we have hidden in our hearts whether it’s emotional pain, scars, or anger. He wants total access. He wants the keys to open up the door to our hearts and once that door is open, He can then uncover the hidden things and we can release them from our lives. Then God can begin to heal our hearts,” she shared. “I allowed God to have total access to my heart and once I did that, I was able to release all the hurt I’ve experienced. I named the album Keys To My Heart because each song is a testimony from an experience that I faced whether it was good or bad. Through this album, I’m letting #Brination have access to what was in my heart when I gave God the keys.” April 2017 The Positive Community April 2017 The Positive Community

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L–R: Moderator Rev. Dr. Carl L. Washington, Jr., New Mount Zion B.C., Harlem, NY; Rev. Shon T. Adkins, Antioch B.C., Harlem, NY; Rev. Dr. Renee F. Washington-Gardner, Memorial B.C., Harlem, NY; Rev. Dr. Anthony Lowe, Mount Carmel B.C., Bronx, NY; and Rev. Dan Morrison, Mount Lebanon B.C., Bronx, NY

L–R; Rev. Dr. Johnnie M. Green; Rev. Kevin Quarles; Rev. James Duckett; Rev. Edward Oliver, Jr.; and Rev. Craig Johnson

UMBA Meets for First Quarterly Session


he United Missionary Baptist Association (UMBA) met for their first quarterly session of 2017, January 24 through 27th at Antioch Baptist Church in Harlem. The theme of the meeting “Reflecting the Will of God in Ministry: Message and Mission” inspired thoughtful discussion as did the sub theme “Elements of Meaningful Worship.” These sessions give UMBA members the opportunity worship and fellowship with their peers—to study, become closer to God and perfect their preaching and teaching of the Word.

In their exploration of the subject, Dr.J. Albert Bush, Sr, chairman of the Theme Commission and Dr. Betty A. Spencer concluded:

Nurse Auxiliary Unit

Laymen’s league

If we, as the worshiping community, are to “worship in spirit and in truth,” we must bring our minds around to the very holiness of God, and at the same time have an appreciation of our own sinfulness to the degree that we are lead to honest confession of sin. Only then can we truly find, experience, and enjoy cleansing andforgiveness. Then we will be properly equipped to be bold, effective witnesses to the world around us. Photos: Bruce Moore


The Positive Community April 2017

PRAHD Bestows Black History Month Award Minister Robert J. McCoy Honored


or four years, to mark Black History Month the Puerto Rican Association for Human Development (PRAHD) has honored distinguished African-Americans who have made great strides in improving the lives of people throughout Middlesex County. This year, more than 100 people came together at PRAHD’s headquarters in Perth Amboy to bestow the Arturo Alfonso Schomburg African American History Month Award to Minister Robert J. McCoy for his work in urban and community redevelopment. The room was a who’s who in Middlesex County political and cultural circles, including Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-19th Dist.), Middlesex County Sheriff Mildred Scott, Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz, as well as many other city officials, PRAHD directors, and community supporters. “It is our honor to be here today with Minister McCoy to express our deep appreciation for his support of Perth Amboy and the surrounding communities,” said Yvonne Lopez, president/ CEO of PRAHD. “Minister McCoy has worked tirelessly for decades to help all people attain their dreams. He truly embodies the heart and soul of this award.”

L–R: Middlesex County Sheriff Mildred Scott and Minister Robert “Bob” McCoy

Minister McCoy is the founding executive director of the Cathedral Community Development Corp. (CDC) in Perth Amboy and now has the distinction of administering one of the most prominent CDCs in New Jersey, with operations in Perth Amboy and Asbury Park. Minister McCoy has been actively involved in the community, having served as president of the Perth Amboy Kiwanis Club, and is now second vice president of the city’s chapter of the NAACP. He is also active on the Perth Amboy Library Board of Trustees and is a member of the Raritan Bay Area YMCA in Perth Amboy. Minister McCoy was also recently elected to serve as public advocate to the Middlesex County Democratic Black Caucus. “I want to thank everyone here today,” Minister McCoy said. “This is truly an honor. I am especially grateful to PRAHD and all the incredible work the agency does in this community.” — Courtesy New Brunswick

Photos: Karen Waters

L–R: PRAHD Board Member Carole Dortch Wright; Dean Schomburg, grandson of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg; and Marilyn Blackstone

PRAHD preschoolers presenting Bob McCoy with their creative artwork

L–R: L-R: Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz; Yvonne Lopez, PRAHD CEO; and Carole Dortch Wright, PRAHD Board member April 2017 The Positive Community


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The Positive Community April 2017

Deaconess Mother Mary B. Hill


orn Mary Zenovia Blake to William Henry Blake and Mary Logan Catherine Blake in Treherneville, Virginia on May 21, 1917, Mary is the sixth of seven children. She was nicknamed, “Sister” by close family members and is the only living member of her immediate family. Mary loved school and never missed a day; for one straight year, it was just her and the teacher. Mary was extremely smart and participated in plays, speaking contests, recitals, and other academic functions. Mary’s father was a farm worker, and he and his wife raised farm animals of their own. Mary recalls having a horse buggy with a beautiful horse named “Blue George.” Mary had to quit school to care for her ailing parents until their passing. Mary recalls that she kept the 5th commandment: “Honor your father and your mother.” She believes this is why God has allowed her to live such a wonderful, long life.


We thank God for her!


After coming to New York City, her sister listed her on their lease as Mary Hill. She liked the name and decided to drop the name Blake. Mary married Charles Walter Brickhouse, and had one son. Prior to getting married, with one intention in mind, which was to keep his wife happy, Charles agreed that she could remain Mary “B.” Hill. With a passion for taking care of people, Mary went back to school for nursing in Manhattan. She retired from the Board of Education and continued caring for the needy at the Archcare at Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center in East Harlem. Baptized at a very young age, she served under five pastors in Virginia and Mary joined Paradise in 1967. She loves the church and its members. She served under the leadership of Dr. Ernest Cook until his passing, and is still a member and the Mother of Paradise Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Lee A. Arrington.

Mary served the Lord under the following ministries: The Nurses Ministry, The Pastor Aide Ministry, Hospitality Ministry, Senior Choir, Combined Choir, Official Board, and as mentioned, the Mother of the Church. Mary is a lifetime member of the Pastor’s Aide Ministry, and the Emeritus of the Hospitality Ministry. Mary has a beautiful voice that does not require music. She enjoys singing songs like, “Oh Holy Night” “There’s Not a Friend Like the Lonely Jesus,” and “Live Right So I Can Die Right”, Mary said she loves the whole bible when asked of her favorite scripture; but she did express that Psalm 27 and Psalm 90 are two of her more frequent readings. Her favorite color is emerald. Her favorite saying is; “Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin.” True Wisdom is a gift from God to those who ask for it. (Job 28:12-28). Wisdom is also defined as the quality of having experience, knowledge and good judgment. Our Deaconess Mother Mary B. Hill has all of the above.

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Celebrating and Studying Passion Week this Month


his year, we Christians celebrate the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ in April. The calendar days for the celebration days are: Palm Sunday, April 9; Passion Week, April 9 through April 16; Good Friday, April 14; and Resurrection Sunday, April 16. Palm Sunday is the Christian celebration of Jesus’ grand entry into Jerusalem just prior to Passover, riding on the back of a donkey, fulfilling the prophecy recorded in Zechariah 9:9. Passion Week refers to Palm Sunday through Resurrection Sunday. Shortly after Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, He entered the temple and overturned the tables and seats of the money changers and sellers of doves. Matthew 21:12 records that Jesus scolded them, saying, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of Prayer’; but you are making it a robbers’ den.” For the next few days, Christ preached, taught, prophesized, and performed miracles in Jerusalem and its metropolitan area, which included Bethany. Meanwhile, the religious hierarchy of the Jews plotted to kill Him. Ultimately, the Roman Empire’s local military establishment seized Jesus, mocked Him, tortured Him, and, on Friday, crucified Him. Christ’s body was placed in a tomb that belonged to one of His supporters. On Sunday, Christ rose from the dead, and met with His disciples. Good Friday acknowledges Christ’s crucifixion. Resurrection Sunday celebrates Christ’s rising from death. Churches typically focus on Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday in worship services on successive Sundays. Many also worship on Good Friday, and some gather on several or even all days of Passion Week, utilizing dramatic performances, guest preachers, and/or guest lecturers. I suspect that non-Christians and even some new Church members wonder: “What’s so good about Good Friday if it recollects the day that Jesus was killed?” The answer is that Christ, who was innocent of sin, died in our place, taking upon Himself the punishment that we deserve for sins that we have committed. “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” —Romans 3:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”—Romans 6:23

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” —Romans 5:8 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” —John 3:16

I suggest that during April 2017, we each purposely focus on Palm Sunday, Passion Week, Good Friday, and Resurrection Sunday, by attending church services and events, reading and studying privately, and conversing with fellow Christians. If you have already missed attending any of these worship services and/or events, you can still read, study, and converse. The following sections of the New Testament detail the original events that we now refer to as Palm Sunday, Passion Week, Good Friday, and Resurrection Sunday: Matthew, chapters 21-28; Mark, chapters 11-16; Luke, chapters 19-24; and John, chapters 12-20. Even folks who do not regularly attend church services know that churches hand out palm leaves on Palm Sunday. Many people go to a church on Palm Sunday mainly to get those palm leaves, which many save all year or even longer. For some secular people, Good Friday is more about a day off from school or work than about the crucifixion of the God’s only begotten Son. In the secular world, “Easter” has little to do with Jesus’ resurrection, and is much more about new clothing for Spring, the Easter Bunny, baskets filled with jelly beans and hard-boiled eggs with colorfully dyed shells, and Easter egg hunts. I prefer the term “Resurrection Sunday” rather than “Easter” when referring to the celebration of the day that Christ rose from the dead. Resurrection Sunday refers directly to what we Christians are celebrating. According to Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary and other sources, the word “Easter” derives from “Eostre,” a pagan Teutonic goddess of light and spring, to whom certain Europeans offered sacrifices at the time of the Spring equinox. Subsequently, it was applied to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. There are congregations that use the phrase “Resurrection Sunday” rather than “Easter.” I hope that practice spreads. April April 2017 2017The ThePositive PositiveCommunity Community 73 73


Vol. 17, No. 4




Publisher Adrian A. Council, Sr. Editor-in-Chief Jean Nash Wells Associate Editor R. L. Witter Sales Angela Ridenour Adrian Council, Jr. NGS Communications, Inc. Satori MPR Marc Williams Contributing Writers Mwandikaji K. Mwanafunzi g.r. mattox Patricia Baldwin Rev. Theresa Nance Glenda Cadogan Helene Fox Rev. Dr. Joanne Noel Photographers Bob Gore Wali A. Muhammad Seitu Oronde Rev. Dr. William L. Watkins, Jr. Darryl Hall Vincent Bryant Hubert Williams Brian Branch Price Karen Waters Art Direction & Layout Penguin Design Group Peter Gillo The Positive Community Corp. 133 Glenridge Avenue Montclair, NJ 07042 973-233-9200 Fax: 973-233-9201 Email: Website: All contents © The Positve Community Corporation. All Rights Reserved. This publication, in whole or in part, may not be reproduced, stored in a computerized or other retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means whatsoever without the prior written permission of The Positive Community Corporation. Any opinions expressed herein are solely the opinions of the writer(s) and not necessarily those of The Positive CommunityTM, its management or staff. The Positive CommunityTM reserves the right to retain all materials and does not assume reponsibility for unsolicited materials.

74 The The Positive Positive Community Community 74

The Last Word

April April 2017 2017

s we celebrate Easter or Resurrection Sunday, let’s remember it’s about more than baskets, bunnies, and bonnets. Sure, I enjoy chocolate and new clothes as much if not more than the next person, but in a time such as this, I believe we need to think about and do more. Today’s reality compels me to think more about Jesus’ sacrifice. I know that while I can never pay back that debt, I can aspire to live by God’s word and do what Jesus Himself commands. I often hear people say they are “spiritual but not religious” or “not a Christian, but striving to be Christlike.” Okay, but what does that mean and do your actions reflect those beliefs? It seems that society is devolving to a place where we record the foibles and struggles of others rather than offer assistance and are ever more accepting of dishonesty and immorality. How does that line up with our Savior’s teachings? Should we be content with the ability to quote scripture, rather than making an effort to live up to it? Jesus told us unequivocally in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Are we doing what is necessary to please God and earn our place in heaven? Jesus said clearly that anyone who claims to be right with God but doesn’t serve the poor, sick, needy — the least among us— does NOT have a relationship with God. I’ve never read a harsh nor an unkind word attributed to Christ, either. Yet, I find my ears bombarded with and offended by profanity and mean-spiritedness almost constantly

when I turn on the radio or television, or scan my social media feed. Even reputable news and entertainment sources seem to pepper their written content with curse words and rather than describe a dishonest or unlikeable politician as a charlatan, a cad, or a demagogue, a profane reference seems to ease past editors and onto the front page. Jesus also said that He did not come to condemn the world, but to save it; and that He did not condemn sinners. So why are so many of us so quick to judge others and then compound our sin by spreading our derogatory opinions about others? My mother used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” Why have we strayed so far from that to this place where denigrating others is the norm? More than anything else, Jesus modeled for us His command to love our neighbors. He took it even further when He told us to love our enemies and bless those who persecute us. So with that in mind, I am asking that Christians, His followers, rise above and remember that we are in this world but not of it. Let’s elevate ourselves and our standards to reflect what we know to be right, honest, fair, and Christian. “By this it will be known that you are my disciples, that you have love for one another.” Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice to pay for our sins and give us a chance at eternal life. So let’s rise up! Let’s rise to a level that will be pleasing to our Father and His Son. Let’s raise our levels of consciousness, faith, and morality. A rising tide lifts all boats, so let’s rise together in our faith and works.



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April 2017  

Education Focus, dfree® Regional Conference, DIFFvelopment: Black Entrepreneurship, Beware Browser Auto-Fill, 9th Annual Heart & Soul Music...

April 2017  

Education Focus, dfree® Regional Conference, DIFFvelopment: Black Entrepreneurship, Beware Browser Auto-Fill, 9th Annual Heart & Soul Music...