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?

The Top 10 Blog Posts and or Magazine Articles for Black Christian Women in May 2019

Hello World,

Happy June! I’m back with my monthly roundup of blog posts and or magazine articles for black Christian women! So below is my Top 10 monthly roundup of blog posts and or magazine/newspaper articles for black Christian women for May but you don’t have be a black Christian woman to to check them out 🙂  As usual, let me know if you like my list! Enjoy and share!

1. “For the First Time in History, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America Are All Black” by BOTWC Staff

Excerpt: We already know that Black is beautiful, but for the first time in history the top beauty pageants in the country have simultaneously elevated this truth. Three Black women are currently wearing crowns as the 2019 Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America. When Cheslie Kryst’s name was announced as Miss USA on Thursday she completed the historic trio with pageant winners 2019 Miss America Nia Franklin and recently crowned 2019 Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris. See more at: becauseofthemwecan.com. 

2.”Ciara Finally Lets Us In On The Prayer That Led Her To Russell Wilson” by Taylor Honore

Excerpt: Since Ciara and Russell Wilson got married in 2016, single women everywhere have been scouring the church pews in search of the fateful prayer the 33-year-old “Level Up” singer said in order that to secure the man of her dreams, and sis finally gave up a sip of the proverbial tea. See more at: xonecole.com. 

3. “Searching For A New Church Home? Here Are 6 Things To Consider” by Ashley Hobbs

Excerpt: You’ve visited twenty different churches but none seem to fit. Some Sundays, you’re excited to get up, get dressed and go search. Other times, you’d rather pledge membership to Bedside Baptist and call it a day. But there is a tug at your spirit. Your desire for faith community is growing by the day and YouTube sermons are starting to feel supplementary at best. You want to experience God corporately in a way that not only transforms your life but others’ lives through you. I’ll say this: Sometimes you find what you want by experiencing what you don’t. Finding the right church home is an important search and it takes time, trial and error, and a discerning heart to find a community that speaks to you. A faith space in which you can grow, serve, and thrive. See more at: xonecole.com.

4. “All-Black World War II Women’s Battalion To Be Honored at Memorial Day Parade” by Andrea Cambron

Excerpt: The Women’s Army Corps, created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on July 1, 1943, included a little known battalion of African American women. Nicknamed “Six Triple Eight,” the unit of 824 women traveled overseas to England and France where they were tasked with handling, sorting and delivering an immense backlog of mail destined for and sent by U.S. forces. Women of the Six Triple Eight ran their own mess hall, hair salon, refreshment bar and other recreational facilities. When the unit’s military police were denied firearms, they instead trained in jujitsu, an effective alternative in keeping intruders out of their compound. See more at: wtop.com.

5. “Nigerians Celebrate Leah Sharibu’s 16th Birthday, Demand Her Release” by Samson Folarin and James Abraham

Excerpt: Sharibu was among the 112 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram members at the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, on February 19, 2018. While most of the victims were released, she was reportedly held for refusing to deny her Christian faith. On Tuesday, May 14, Nigerians took to different social media platforms to mark her birthday as they demanded her release after 449 days in captivity. See more at: punchng.com. 

6. “‘God Has Been Calling Me Here:’ First Female, Black Episcopal Bishop in Colorado Talks Her Past and the Church’s Future” by Allison Levine

Excerpt: For the first time in history, the Episcopal Church in Colorado will be led by an African-American woman. On Saturday, the church hosted the ordination and consecration of Kym Lucas as its 11th bishop. She is both the church’s first woman bishop and first black bishop.  See more at: 9news.com.

7. “Unita Blackwell, Civil Rights Pillar and First Black Woman Mayor in Mississippi, Dies at 86” by Adam Ganucheau

Excerpt: Unita Blackwell, the sharecropper who later became the first black woman mayor in the state of Mississippi and advised six U.S. presidents, died Monday at age 86. Her son Jeremiah Blackwell Jr. told Mississippi Today his mother died Monday morning at a hospital in Biloxi after a long battle with dementia. See more at: mississippitoday.org.

8. “How Black Women Championed Demands for Reparations” by FM Editors

Excerpt: Sojourner Truth also demanded reparations for slavery through land redistribution. Following the end of slavery, during Reconstruction, Truth argued that slaves helped to build the nation’s wealth and therefore should be compensated. In 1870, she circulated a petition requesting Congress to provide land to the “freed colored people in and about Washington” to allow them “to support themselves.” Yet, Truth’s efforts were not successful. US former slaves got no land or financial support after the end of slavery. See more at: faithfullymagazine.com.

9. “Uzo Aduba To Play Shirley Chisholm In FX Limited Series, ‘Mrs. America’” by

Excerpt: Mrs. America tells the story of the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and the unexpected backlash led by a conservative woman named Phyllis Schlafly, played by Blanchett. Through the eyes of the women of that era – both Schlafly and second wave feminists Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Shirley Chisholm, Bella Abzug and Jill Ruckelshaus – the series explores how one of the toughest battlegrounds in the culture wars of the 70s helped give rise to the Moral Majority and forever shifted our political landscape. See more at: blackfilm.com. 

10. “This Traveling Library Is Making Sure ‘Black Women’s Literature Has the Place It Deserves'” by Char Adams

Excerpt: So she kicked off the project by asking friends and family to simply donate a book to her cause. Nearly four years ago, that little girl marked her first trade, and now, Akinmowo has over 1,000 books in what she has named the Free Black Women’s Library. Since then, she’s set up a collection of books in monthly pop-ups all around Brooklyn, New York. Having graduated from brownstone stoops, the library now functions as a traveling biblio-installation that sets up shop in museums, creative spaces, theaters, art galleries, churches, and festivals. See more at: oprahmag.com. 

If you know of any black Christian women bloggers and or writers, please e-mail me at jacqueline@afterthealtarcall.com as I’m always interested in expanding my community of black Christian women blogs and websites. As I noted before, while this is a roundup of interesting blog posts and or magazine and newspaper articles for black Christian women, you don’t have to be one to appreciate these pieces  🙂.

Famed Pastor Who Delivered Aretha Franklin’s Eulogy, The Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. Releases Book, Hosts Signing…

 

Hello World,

Last September,  Rev. Jasper Williams Jr.’s eulogy at Aretha Franklin’s lengthy homegoing caused a ruckus to put it mildly, so much so that I wrote “Seven Reasons Why I Approve of The Rev. Jasper Williams Jr.’s Eulogy at Aretha’s Franklin’s Funeral…,” but Rev. Williams didn’t just show up on the scene in September. In fact, he preached his first sermon at a mere seven years old, was the head of a church at the young age of 20 and hasn’t stopped since. Nearly 70 years later, he has a story to tell and he’s telling it in his book aptly named, It Ain’t But One: My Extraordinary Life Story.” Below is the official description of the book, which includes a foreword by Ambassador Andrew Young. 

Growing up in the shadow of his namesake, Rev. Jasper Williams Sr., young Jasper had big shoes to fill. He did so for the first time at the age of 7, preaching a sermon and feeling the exhilaration of God’s call on his life and “the realization that I could be the man my Daddy had repeatedly told me I would be when I grew up… just like him!”

Now, nearly 70 years later, Williams looks back on his life and ministry, recounting the challenges of taking the reins of leadership at Salem Bible Church at the tender age of 20, growing and shepherding the congregation and rising in leadership and influence in the Atlanta community and across the country.

Recent years have seen Williams emerge as a statesman in the African American community, speaking boldly and advocating for the restoration of the black family. Readers will be challenged and inspired as Williams offers insights gained from decades of faithful service.

With transparency and humor, Williams recalls the perils and loneliness of ministry, as well as the sheer joy of preaching–something that has earned him the title “Prince of Preachers.”

The pastor emeritus will sign his autobiography “It Ain’t But One: My Extraordinary Life Story” on Sunday, June 2 at the Salem Bible Church Lithonia campus (5460 Hillandale Drive Lithonia, GA 30058) and on Sunday, June 9 at the Salem Bible Church Atlanta campus(2283 Baker Road, NW Atlanta, GA 30318). And obviously if you can’t make it to either signing, you can buy his autobiography on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and wherever books are sold.

Any thoughts?