Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black
2018 Distinguished Guest Preacher
March 4, 2018
Lecture @ 9:30 a.m.
Sermon @ 11 a.m.
Lunch and Discussion @ 12 p.m.
Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black will grace our pulpit Sunday, March 4, as the fifth in GPC’s annual Distinguished Guest Preacher series. He will lecture at 9:30 a.m. in the Georgetown Room on “Becoming a Responsible Renter,” playing off Jesus’ parable of the wicked tenants in Mark 12. For the 11:00 a.m. service, his sermon is titled “All In,” based on Jesus’ encounter with the rich young ruler in Luke 18.
Chaplain Black is known for his searching prayers to open each day’s Senate session, seeking God’s wisdom and mutual charity even in contentious times. Some will also remember his stirring address at the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast, captured on YouTube. Since 2003 Chaplain Black has exercised a quiet but respected pastoral ministry among senators and staffers of all backgrounds and persuasions.
In his autobiography From the Hood to the Hill, Chaplain Black tells of growing up in a blighted Baltimore neighborhood yet sustained by a loving church community that affirmed his abilities and calling from God. Overcoming many obstacles, he rose to become Rear Admiral Barry Black, the first African-American Chief of Navy Chaplains, and later the first African-American chaplain in the 229-year history of the U.S. Senate.
Whether in a humble or exalted position, Chaplain Black shares a message of gratitude to God, focus on God’s purposes in Scripture, and dependence upon God in prayer. In his latest book, Make Your Voice Heard in Heaven, he remarks that his greatest privilege is not—as some might suppose—that “I have some access to key lawmakers … who invariably are so busy that it could take hours or even days for me to get on their schedules.” Black is more impressed that “I have total access” to “my amazing heavenly Father, [who] is immediately available to meet my needs.”
The chaplain’s other books include Nothing to Fear and The Blessing of Adversity. His books will be available for purchase during his visit to GPC. Child care will be provided during the lecture and worship service.
History of GPC’s Annual Preaching Series
Inaugurated in 2013, The Georgetown Presbyterian Church’s Guest Preacher Weekend seeks to offer spiritual and intellectual enrichment, hospitality and fellowship to our church community and our friends and neighbors in the Washington, DC area.
In September 2013, we proudly welcomed the Rev. Dr. John M. Buchanan, editor of The Christian Century and a respected leader of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), as our inaugural speaker. Dr. Buchanan offered reflections on the continuing role of the church in the world and on recent developments in the Mainline Protestant movement.
In February 2015, we welcomed our second preacher, Rev. Dr. Kenda Creasy Dean, who spoke to us about the importance of telling our faith stories and making intergenerational connections in our congregations. She highlighted the risk that many of our young people in churches believe less in Christianity than they do in a Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.
In February 2016, we welcomed our third speaker, Dr. Miroslav Volf, the Henry B. Wright Professor of Systematic Theology, and Founding Director, Yale Center for Faith & Culture at Yale Divinity School. A native of Osikek, Croatia, Dr. Volf studied under the renowned German theologian Jürgen Moltmann. Dr. Volf’s career has been animated by his work on the Trinity, applying Trinitarian theology to help resolve entrenched conflicts between communities, including between Serbs and Croats, Muslims and Christians, among denominations and between the realms of the sacred and secular.
In March 2017, we welcomed our fourth speaker, Rev. Dr. Brian Blount, President of Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA. Specializing in Luke, Mark, and Revelations, Dr. Blount served in the New Testament department at Princeton Theological Seminary before becoming the President of Union Seminary in Richmond, VA. An ordained Presbyterian minister, he has published multiple biblical studies and homiletic books. He gave a sermon on “Resurrection and the Walking Dead.”
Click on the below gallery to view images from our weekend with Rev. Dr. John M. Buchanan in 2013.
Click on the below gallery to view images from our weekend with Rev. Dr. Kenda Creasy Dean, February 2015.
To access our video archive of Dr. Dean’s lecture, please visit http://gtownpres.org/kenda-dean/.
Click on the below gallery to view images from our weekend with Dr. Miroslav Volf, February 2016.
To access our video archive of Dr. Volf’s lecture and sermon, please visit http://gtownpres.org/events/volf/. To view more images from our event, please visit our Flickr album.