Jacqueline J. Holness (ME) Writes Racial Reconciliation Cover Story for Christianity Today!

Latasha Morrison/ Photograph by Ben Rollins

Hello World,

I’m so excited because recently I was blessed with the assignment of writing a cover story about racial reconciliation as it pertains to the church in Atlanta for Christianity Today, one of the foremost publications in the Christian world! Although it is a thorny topic without question and I certainly wish we didn’t have to continue highlighting this issue, I’m glad that I am continuing the work of my father, who is passionate about this topic. In fact, he created a newsletter for the Christian church, hosted an annual Racial Reconciliation Service each January (to coincide with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day) and traveled to speaking engagements to address racial reconciliation. Additionally, my father is the one who introduced me to Christianity Today magazine when I was only reading VIBE, Essence, The Source and similar magazines back in the day.

Well, my article “Racial Reconciliation Is Still a Dream for Atlanta Christians” is now available for you to read. Below is the beginning of the article and you can click on the link below the excerpt to read the rest.

Dhati Lewis set out to start a church that could be a blueprint for urban discipleship, a church “in the city, for the city, that looks like the city.” But first, he needed a city.

A decade ago, he left the college town of Denton, Texas, for Atlanta, an urban hub four times larger. With him came 25 longtime ministry partners, including rappers Lecrae and Sho Baraka and pastor John Onwuchekwa. Together they planted Blueprint Church in the Old Fourth Ward, a story chronicled in a recent documentary, Becoming Blueprint, released in honor of the church’s 10th anniversary.

Lewis’s approach to ministry grew out of the tension he felt between the white evangelical culture that fueled his faith in Denton and the familiar black culture of his upbringing. In Atlanta, though he was a black pastor leading a diverse congregation in a majority-black city, the work of urban church planting was complicated.

For one, the area around his church continued to gentrify. “In this neighborhood, what scares me is the fact that you have Section 8 housing on one end and like a million-dollar home on the other end,” he said in the documentary.

Read the rest HERE.

Below is the gorgeous cover of the October issue of Christianity Today!

My story is part of a four-story cover package. The official description is as follows:

Raphael Warnock, the pastor of Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church who’s now running for US Senate, talked about his calling into politics as a Christian. He said, “My impact doesn’t stop at the church door. That’s actually where it starts.” That approach to living out the gospel extends across generations and segments of society in Atlanta. In this month’s cover package, we hear from pastors, politicians, and entrepreneurs—black Christian leaders whose faith calls them back into their communities in the diverse hometown of Martin Luther King Jr.

COVER STORIES

Atlanta Beyond MLK: How Black Christians Continue a Civil Rights Legacy
Generations take up the gospel work of becoming a beloved community.
The Black Church Is Atlanta’s Original Community Organizer
Long before Raphael Warnock’s Senate run, the biblical call for freedom for the oppressed stirred Atlanta Christians to social action.
How Black-Owned Businesses Bless Atlanta
Christian entrepreneurs promote a new economic narrative in a city plagued by wealth gaps.
Racial Reconciliation Is Still a Dream for Atlanta Christians
But church leaders think it’s worth the work to address longstanding divides.

 

So check it out and let me know what y’all think…

Any thoughts?

 

Ouleye Ndoye of Ministry of Motherhood Hosts Human Trafficking Online Meetup on Monday!

Hello World,

Protecting our most valuable and vulnerable population, our children, is of paramount importance to me, which is why I want to tell you about an important online meetup hosted by Ouleye Ndoye of Ministry of Motherhood. Below are her words…

Our children are now spending more time on the internet than ever before, due to COVID-19 induced “Virtual Learning” across the country. Human Traffickers use the internet to groom and recruit victims in many ways.

Join me tomorrow, Monday, September 28, 2020, at 8:00 p.m. for a candid conversation with Homeland Security Investigations’ Alia El-Sawi as we learn from her important work in victim assistance.

We will share our expertise on human trafficking prevention, rehabilitation, and talk about what each of us can do from home to keep our families, neighbors and loved ones safe.

To register, click HERE.

Below is more information about Ministry of Motherhood, which was created by Ouleye Ndoye, who, most recently, served as the inaugural Senior Human Trafficking Fellow for the city of Atlanta as part of Mayor Bottoms’ executive team.

The Ministry of Motherhood began in 2017 when I was a new mom. I was often in church and something about having a small baby on my hip and lap at all times led me to have conversations with other new and expecting moms. I realized that these conversations all had a similar thread, despite these women coming from different circumstances. They were seeking answers to similar questions. Questions I was also grappling with. We all needed a community. So, I started hosting small MoM Meetups at a nearby restaurant. Over time this group grew into a Ministry of Moms that included friends from the church and all walks of my life, stretching as far back as friends I’d known before college!

Hello! My name is Ouleye. I am a mother of two. My first birth was in a hospital and my second was at the Birth Center. These very different experiences led me to hours of research into the existing systems of maternal health in the United States and their history. In many ways, my birth experiences and the months thereafter ignited my passion for this work in maternal health.

My career has been devoted to promoting the health and human rights of women and children for over a decade. Becoming a mother deepened my passion for supporting women and their babies throughout the journey of pregnancy and the early months and years of parenting. The calling to do more for the collective wellness of mothers led me to found the MoMs Ministry at my church. Around the same time, I began my training to become a Doula with DONA International.

I am deeply committed to improving the maternal and postpartum health outcomes of women of color. We are 3-4x more likely to die due to complications around pregnancy and childbirth! I am also passionate about advocating for more humane maternity leave policies that truly support the mother-baby-bonding period.

For more information, go to ministryofmotherhood.us.

Any thoughts?

‘I Just Wanna Live’ 13-Year-Old Singer Keedron Bryant Releases EP!

Hello World,

It’s been a little while since I’ve blogged and even during a pandemic, life continues to go on. There are many things that I could have written about and may still write about such as the devastating loss of “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman but I had to take a break as we all must do from time to time. But I’m back…slowly easing myself in… so give me grace, y’all…

When I first heard this young man sing, I knew it would be only a matter of time before this happened…See this story from the New York Post

Like many young students, 13-year-old Keedron Bryant is now navigating virtual learning as he goes back to school.

But this eighth-grader from Jacksonville, Fla., is also a viral sensation who’s dropping his debut EP, “I Just Wanna Live,” on Friday.

Bryant landed a record deal after he posted a smartphone-shot video of himself performing his song “I Just Wanna Live” a cappella. Posted on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in May, the clip became a rally cry for the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I never thought it was gonna go viral,” said Bryant, who was a contestant on NBC’s “Little Big Shots” last season. “But it was really sad that I had to sing those type of words. There were a lot of emotions going on in my mind at the time I was singing it . . . I asked God to give me power and strength and anointing to deliver the message right.”

Read the rest HERE.

Check out the official music video for “I Just Wanna Live!”

And here is a listing of the songs on the EP:


And finally below is the teenager sharing about how to get his new EP!

Congratulations to him! May he always use his talent in service of the Lord!

Any thoughts?