Dr. Lawrence M. Drake II Releases New Book ‘Color Him Father’ to Help Black Fathers Heal After Losing a Child – NEW BOOK ALERT!!!

Hello World,

As today is Fathers Day, I want to introduce a new book Color Him Father that was released to honor fatherhood. I’m reasonably sure that becoming a father is to a child is one of the proudest moments of a man’s life. But what happens when a father loses that child? You don’t hear about the latter scenario because in a perfect world, a child is a father’s legacy, living long after that father has gone on to be with the Lord. But since we live in a fallen world, sometimes a father will not only welcome his child into this world but he will also usher that child back to the Lord. Businessman Dr. Lawrence M. Drake II experienced that when his 41-year-old daughter Kia Nichol Drake passed away in 2017. She suffered from sarcoidosis and stomach cancer.

Although she only passed away two years ago next month, he was able to capture his feelings about his daughter’s life and her untimely death. In his poignant story, he admits that initially when he discovered that his then wife was pregnant, he was ambivalent. They were married college students and their budget did not include a line item for the birth of a child. In fact, he could not take home his baby daughter initially because although he had three jobs, he didn’t have health insurance. But once she was born, he delighted in his daughter, and he became a parent of a son about two years later around the time he graduated from college.

He writes about attempting to balance his ambition to excel in his career and family life, recalling that by the time his daughter graduated from high school, the family had moved 10 to 12 times!  He reveals how she began asserting her independence when she quit her high school’s basketball team after she scored the winning shot at a critical game. She told him she didn’t want the “pressure” of a being a star athlete. And although she was expected to major in business at Florida A&M University, she elected to major in psychology in part so she wouldn’t have to travel as much as her father traveled in his business career. She aspired to help battered women and other women in horrific situations as she experienced an abusive relationship in college. And in 1997, she graduated from college with a degree in psychology.

He reveals his admiration for his daughter when although she was diagnosed with stage 4 sarcoidosis in 2006, she “fought through her fears” to give birth to a son two years later at 32 years old. As I read his story, it gave me insight into how my father may feel or think about me. Although my father is a retired pastor, outside of the pulpit, he is a quiet man and while we have had many, many, many discussions over the years, I’ve never thought to ask him how he views my life and the decisions I’ve made. But from reading Dr. Drake’s story about this daughter, although we may not realize it, our fathers are thinking about us more than we know…

And if you would like to know more about Dr. Drake’s account of his daughter’s life,  you will have buy his book and read it for yourself…

But Dr. Drake’s story about his daughter Kia is not the only story that is shared in this important book. Below is the official description of Color Him Father:

It’s a brotherhood no man wants to join – the group of men who share the pain of losing a child. Whether that child is an infant, teenager, young or full grown adult, grieving the loss of a child is a heartache that can break the strongest of men.

Now, seven men who hold membership in that fraternity of fatherhood have come together to share the sorrow of their suffering. In their own unique voices, these men tackle perspectives of being a Black father that are rarely discussed.

In Color Him Father, you will step inside these very personal and intense stories of love and loss, tragedies and triumphs….But these stories will take you beyond the pain as they share their deep commitment to fatherhood.

Whether you’re a man traveling a similar path, supporting someone who has made that journey, or just want to gain insight, these touching testimonies will enlighten and educate people from all walks of life.

Released by Brown Girls Books, Color Him Father will encourage all fathers to renew their promises to their children, while motivating young Black men to become even more committed to the brotherhood of fatherhood.

Below is a trailer for Color Him Father:

Dr. Lawrence M. Drake II is an accomplished businessman, author, scholar, and emerging thought leader on the complexities of Black fatherhood in America.  For over forty years, he’s held a variety of senior-level positions at global companies, including Coca Cola, Executive Leadership Council, PepsiCo, Cablevision Systems Corp., and Kraft Inc. As the President and CEO of LEAD, a 21st century learning advocacy organization, he skillfully oversees initiatives that prepare the current and future generations of leaders for success in their academic and professional endeavors.

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, he is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Inc., and actively serves on the boards, or is a member of notable organizations such as the American Psychological Association, Association of Black Psychologists, and Judson University. His personal interests include creating new memories with his wife, his five children, and seven grandchildren.

Below are the tour dates for the book, and for more information, go to: coloroffatherhood.com.

Any thoughts?

Executive Produced By Stephen Curry & Viola Davis, New Documentary ‘Emanuel’ Comes to Theaters on June 17 and 19 Only!

A Review of the Documentary That Honors the Emanuel A.M.E. Church Shooting Victims & Highlights the Power of Forgiveness in the Wake of Tragedy...

Hello World,

Tonight, thousands of churchgoers throughout the country will convene at their respective churches for Wednesday Bible Study. Where Sunday Morning Service can be a spectacle in many churches, Wednesday Bible Study is less of a production and as a result, more relaxed. Many of those who show up on Sunday don’t on Wednesday so the gatherings tend to be smaller. In many smaller churches, the members gather in a room that is not the sanctuary and even sit in a circle of chairs. Although the church is primed for visitors on a Sunday morning, a visitor or two may amble in and be welcomed to the fold without much ado on a Wednesday.

Maybe that’s why 21-year-old white supremacist Dylann Roof chose a Wednesday Bible Study to show up at South Carolina’s Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church, the oldest A.M.E. church in the South, to slither in and sit among the people he intended to slaughter. In the Bible, it says the Lord will show up like a thief in the night so we must be ready but the devil knows the Word too. Roof’s slaughtering of 9 Emanuel A.M.E. members, the historical threads that led to what unraveled that fateful day, the astounding forgiveness of Roof by the family members of those whose lives were stolen and more is explored in the documentary EMANUEL. Marking the 4th anniversary of this distinctly American act of terror, EMANUEL will be in movie theaters across the country on Monday, June 17 and Wednesday, June 19 only. I was able to see a screener of this movie, which is from executive producers Stephen Curry and Viola Davis, co-producer Mariska Hargitay, and director Brian Ivie, and I was in a word “moved.”

While the news coverage of the church shooting was rightfully plenteous, EMANUEL was an exhaustive exploration that simply cannot be covered in the constraints of a news story. It has been said that “nothing comes from nothing” and that is true in the case of the Emanuel A.M.E. Church shooting as well. Apparently, Charleston, where Mother Emanuel A.M.E. is located, is called the “Holy City” although the unholy had a safe harbor there. Charleston was the capital of the slave trade and roughly 40 percent of slaves who entered this country entered through this city. In fact, the amount of black people in Charleston was so voluminous that the city had a black majority. Freed slave Denmark Vesey, who helped to found the African Methodist Episcopal Church, planned to lead a slave revolt there until his plan was discovered. Vesey’s church, where he able to galvanize members to revolt with him, was burned after he was executed for his actions.

And then in modern day times, you have Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was not only senior pastor at Mother Emanuel A.M.E., he was a member of the South Carolina Senate.  (Thank God for progress!) He spoke about black people having the freedom to be what God intended intended them to be and that sometimes death would be required for that freedom to come to fruition.  Saints, it was no accident that Roof choose Charleston and Mother Emanuel A.M.E. church.

Family members of the slain members were interviewed in EMANUEL. I was touched by all of their testimonies by I was most touched by the testimony of the Reverend Anthony Batiste Thompson, who is the pastor of Holy Trinity Reformed Episcopal Church of Charleston. Rev. Thompson was married to the late Myra Thompson, who was killed in the shooting.  Thompson, like Samuel in the Bible, was called to the ministry as a boy. While Samuel heard the voice of God in the house of the Lord, Thompson heard the voice of in a Piggly Wiggly parking lot! He heard someone call his name three times although he was in the parking lot alone. It was after the third time that he realized it was God and that God wanted him to be a preacher.

Many years later, on that tragic Wednesday night, he wondered why his wife Myra was so happy as she readied herself for Bible Study. He said she was “overjoyed” and “floating in the house.” He wanted to ask her why she was so happy because he had nothing to do with it. (Just like a man to say something like that, LOL. My husband is not only source of my happiness and he should be happy that’s true!) He said he decided he would ask her why after she returned from Bible Study so as not to affect her high. He usually hugged or kissed her before she left the house but this time he was in the bathroom just as she was leaving and she was in a rush. She told him to catch her at the car. But he didn’t get to her car on time either. He said after the shooting, he realized why she was so happy and why he couldn’t touch her. “God had already scooped her up.” Imagine that? She was already in the loving arms of Jesus. No earthly love can compare.

Thompson said it was the voice of God, which he originally heard as a five-year-old boy, that told him to forgive Roof and tell him so during a bond hearing just TWO days after Roof murdered his wife. Since then, Thompson penned his book “Called to Forgive: The Charleston Church Shooting, a Victim’s Husband, and the Path to Healing and Peace” which was release this month through Baker Publishing.

Many of the family members of the victims expressed their forgiveness of Roof, which shocked many and angered some. But not all family members were able to instantly forgive Roof. Melvin Graham, who is the brother of shooting victim Cynthia Hurd, has not been able to do so. While expressing admiration for those who forgave, he said, “I’m a work in progress.” I get that.

Other key points in the movie that affected me:

  • Polly Sheppard’s account that Roof let her live so that she that she could “tell the story.”
  • Felicia Sanders, who was a human shield over her granddaughter, watched her son Tywanza Sanders get killed, after he confronted Roof. Tywanza told Dylann that “we mean you no harm” but that did not matter to the terrorist. Thankfully before he passed, Sanders was able to tell her son, “Tywanza, I love you,” and his last words were, “Mom, I love you too.”
  • Charleston’s Chief Coroner Rae Wooten’s examination of the bodies revealed that Roof had ambushed them without warning.
  • Not only was Roof captured and arrested without being killed in the process, he was given Burger King.
  • When President Obama sang “Amazing Grace” at the homegoing for Rev. Clementa Pinckney. Lord knows I miss me some him. Can I get a witness?

There are many astounding accounts such as Felicia Sanders’ pink-paged Bible and Chris Singleton’s wrist-written Scripture, but I cannot give the whole documentary away. But hopefully, I have told you enough to make you want to see it for yourself. I highly recommend doing so…

Below is a trailer for EMANUEL:

EMANUEL focuses on the incredible forgiveness that was demonstrated by the victims and their family members, and how that forgiveness prevented potential backlash by the in response to the racially motivated crime. The movie was made in direct partnership with the City of Charleston and the families affected by the tragedy . The producers of EMANUEL will donate their share of profits from the film to the survivors of the shooting and the families of the victims

For more information on EMANUEL, please visit, www.emanuelmovie.com.

Any thoughts?

Single Mother Rev. Lisa D. Jenkins Was Expelled From Church, Now First Female Pastor of St. Matthew’s Baptist Church…

Hello World,

Happy Mothers Day to the all of the mothers out there! On this Mothers Day, I want to highlight Rev. Lisa D. Jenkins, who is the tenth pastor and first female to lead the nearly 95-year-old St. Matthew’s Baptist Church located in Harlem, New York.  However, 24 years ago she was expelled from the church because she was pregnant and unwed. Please read her biography below followed by my interview of her.

Pastor of Harlem’s St. Matthew’s Baptist Church, Rev. Lisa D. Jenkins received her bachelor’s degree in speech communications with an emphasis in journalism from Pace University and attained the degree of master of divinity from New York Theological Seminary.  She is currently a doctoral student at McCormick Theology Seminary as a Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Scholar.

Additionally, Rev. Jenkins has taught New Testament Studies and Biblical Exegesis at New York Theological Seminary, and serves as an adjunct lecturer of Cultural Diversity in the History and Philosophy Department at York College/City University of New York.  In addition to her pastoral and academic work, Rev. Jenkins lectures and facilitates workshops and seminars on a variety of topics including, but not limited to, Balancing Family & Ministry, Single Parenting, Mental Health & the Black Church, Women in Ministry and more. Rev. Jenkins is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, the NAACP and is an advocate of both adults & children with ADHD.

She is also the author of the recently released book The Other Side of Through: Messages of Hope, Empowerment, Justice and Faith, a compilation of powerful sermons preached by Rev. Lisa D. Jenkins. A combination of devotion and ethnography, the sermons delivered with Rev. Jenkins’ unique style and humor capture the rich tradition of the African-American religious experience which comb the scriptures in search of the gospel that will break the yokes of oppression and injustice while offering hope and redemption.

As a pastor, she brings over 30 years of diverse experience gained in the corporate sector, academia and in faith-based settings.  Her experiences include modeling on the stage of the world famous Apollo Theatre, singing with the Grammy Award-winning Hezekiah Walker & The Love Fellowship Crusade Choir, working as on-air radio announcer, and serving on community boards, city task forces and various non-profit organizations.

Rev. Lisa D. Jenkins is the proud mother of Jordan Christopher Jenkins-Crandle.

1. How were you expelled from your church?

Yes, I was kicked out of the church. I was expelled from church. I did return eventually. I was pregnant, but I was 28 years old. I was old (laughter). I was a grown woman out of college. At that time, I was working for RJR Nabisco. It was a Fortune 100 company at that time. As a matter of fact, I had just handed in my resignation because I was traveling with Love Fellowship Crusade Choir. I was traveling with Hezekiah Walker. I remember we did the ‘Live at Morehouse’ album, and I was so sick and I was so tired. We did it in January. I had no idea I was pregnant and then I found out I was pregnant. I remember Bishop Walker. He wasn’t a bishop at the time, but he was so kind to me. I was lying in bed one day. I was just lamenting my life.  I had done so much but here I was at this point and time pregnant.

I remember Bishop Walker calling me because he was starting his church, and he asked was I able to help out with something. I remember I was boohooing. I said, ‘I can’t. I’m pregnant. I can’t do anything.’ And I will never forget. He said, ‘Lisa, don’t worry about a thing. Children are never a mistake. God has got you. God is going to keep your child. Know that I’m here for you, Love Fellowship is here for you. Don’t worry about a thing.’ He was just so encouraging.

But at my church, it was different. I wasn’t holding any leadership positions at my church Ebenezer Baptist Church in Flushing, Queens. I think I was singing in the choir but nothing else. My pastor said to me that I should stop coming for a while. This conversation was by phone. I don’t remember how he found out. It was all a haze. I remember not understanding what he was saying because certainly I was not the first female to be pregnant and unwed at that church. I do remember he said, ‘You’re starting to show and you’re not like the others.’ I remember being speechless. He said, ‘You’re one of the leaders.’ And I remember saying, ‘I’m not in leadership. I’m not holding any offices.’ He said, ‘You’re very visible.’

Later on though, he invited me back to the church a few weeks later after people had found out that he asked me to stop coming to the church. Because my son’s father was the minister of music and was still playing the organ at the church. My son’s father is a good person, but marriage was not an option or feasible. But my pastor never really apologized though. I did not go back right away, but I did go back. I was away from the church three or four months or so.

I eventually had my son in 1994 and my church was very welcoming. The next thing I knew the pastor that told me not to come to the church licensed me to preach the gospel three years later in 1997. He wound up saying that he did not know how to handle the situation because he thought there was a calling on my life. Again, he never apologized, but I took it for what it was: someone who grew up in a different era who although he wasn’t against women in ministry, but we live in a very patriarchal society.

2. How did you receive your call to ministry?

A lot of people will tell me that they were called to ministry. I never tell anyone I was called to ministry. It was something that was validated by other people always. Other people in the church, mothers in the church. My previous pastor’s wife. I was always asked to speak, preside at banquets. I was always asked to introduce people.

So there was a Youth Day coming up. It was 1995 or 1996 I think. And my pastor called me and said, ‘I need for you to speak for Youth Day.’ I said, ‘Sure, not a problem.’ I said, ‘Is that going to be before the preacher or after the preacher?’ He said, ‘No, I need for you to speak.’ I said, ‘Well, who is going to be the preacher?’ He said, ‘There is no preacher. It’s just going to be you.’ I remember just standing there because I was on the phone. I wasn’t comprehending because in my mind, you have to have a preacher.  I said, ‘What is this? I thought you said it was Sunday morning. Is this an afternoon event? Is this a banquet?’ He said, ‘It’s Sunday morning service and it’s Youth Day. I need for you to be the main speaker. You’re going to speak from the podium from the lectern on the side. But when it comes time for the Word, you’re going to be it. ’ And mind you, this is two years after I had my son. I said, ‘Okay.’

I remember getting of the phone and I remember calling, we call her Ya-Ya. God rest her soul. Her actual name is Percynthia Brown. She was one of the mothers of the church and I called her because I was confused. I said, ‘Ya-Ya, Pastor just called me and he wants me to speak. But he says there is not going to be a preacher.’ She said, ‘Baby, that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. God has a calling on your life.’ So I spoke. It was a great service. The message was well-received. We had a wonderful time in the Lord.

And shortly after that, Pastor said, ‘I want you to have your trial sermon. How do you feel about that?’  By that time, on my own,  I was already going to a Bible institute in the community. Also, there was another church that had a Baptist institute that I attended. This was not for preaching or professional ministry.  This was just to learn more about God on my own. I have always been a learner and a reader. I was reading the Bible at 2 a.m. in the morning on my own.

So I had a trial sermon on the last Sunday in October in 1997. It was a packed house. My sermon title was ‘The Least Likely.’ It was based on 1 Samuel where David was the least likely to be chosen to be the king of Israel. Out of all of Jesse’s sons who were kingly, David was in the back with the sheep and the prophet said, ‘Is there another? Don’t you have another son?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I do but he’s out in the back. But you don’t want him. Look at my other sons.’ Samuel said, ‘No bring your son from the back.’ So he was the least likely.

So from there, God just made a way. Whenever I went places, my son was with me. I had a collapsible bassinet in the trunk of my car.

3. You also credit your church mother with helping you with your calling to ministry to ministry. Is there anyone else who helped you as well?

My actual mother Lucy Mae Jenkins. She had me at 49 years old. They told her I was a tumor. And they told her that she should not have me when they found out that I was not a tumor. They told her she needed to have a medical abortion because it’s going to be dangerous for you. She said, ‘No, that’s not going to happen.’ She lived long enough to see me pastor my first church Blessed Trinity Baptist Church in Harlem. She had my brother at the age of 17 but after that, she had no other children until she had me.

4. Now that you’re a pastor of a church, if you had a woman to get pregnant in your congregation who was in leadership or just any woman, how would you deal with that?

How would I deal with that? I would be loving to her. I would do what Hezekiah Walker did and say, ‘God loves you.’ I would ask her what she needs. Is she okay? I don’t know how to answer that because to me it’s like breathing. Like when someone is going through something, you say, ‘What can I do for you?’ Is there anything that the church can do for you? Do you need support?’ And she may be fine. She may be vice-president of a corporation with a family behind her or she could be a single mother on public assistance living in projects around the corner.

The Bible says that we are supposed to be kind to one another and that we aren’t supposed to gossip. That there shouldn’t be adultery. That we clothe and feed the hungry. The Bible tells us lots of things that we do not do. The church is full of people who treat each other in nasty ways but we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about someone who has gotten pregnant out of wedlock which needs to dealt with compassion. We need to make sure that the person’s needs are taken care of and that they continue to be reconciled to Christ just like all of us when we wake up in the morning and we have things happen to us throughout the day that might go against the will of God. I’m one of those people who is beyond this nitpicking about which sin is worse.

I would never tell someone not to come to church. Are you kidding me?

5.What about if they were in leadership?

Depends upon what the ministry is. If they were a preacher or pastor, I would counsel them. I would hope they had enough humility to do what is necessary for their own sake, for their own spiritual well-being. If you are in a leadership position, I should not have to sit anyone down. I would leave that to God because God will deal with that. Because there are some times when we all need to take a retreat or a sabbatical whether you’re pregnant or not.

6. What have been the blessings and challenges of being a single parent and minister?

Childcare and making sure that his needs were taken care of. But I did have a very supportive network. When I traveled  to preach or went some place to lead a study, they knew that I had my son with me. Sometimes, he would sit with the First Lady or if I had someone that came with me, my son would sit with that person. It was challenging but doable.

7. Any advice for single parents?

A lot of single parents are praying for a husband or wife to assist them, but my prayer is that God’s will be done in your life and that you be strengthened and encouraged in your singleness and for whatever God has in store for you, knowing that God is able to do all things. I remember when my son was younger, I would pray for a partner, but I realized it was for the wrong reasons.  I would say, ‘I wish I had someone to help me take this garbage out. I’m so tired.’ ‘I wish I had someone to help me rake these leaves.’ ‘Oh my goodness, it’s snowing outside. I need someone to help me shovel this snow.’ ‘I need someone to help me get up in the middle of the night and change diapers.’ But God is our help. And when I think back, those were really selfish reasons. The right reason is that God would send someone who is necessary so that His will would be accomplished in both of their lives.

Paul says that it’s not sinful to be single. If you are single, then you can devote more of your time to the Lord. And if you’re married, your time is devoted to your spouse.

I’m very comfortable in my singleness now, but if it’s God will to be married one day, then absolutely. But I love walking into an empty house each day!

For more information about Rev. Lisa D. Jenkins, go to her website: lisadjenkins.org.

Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers out there 🙂

Any thoughts?