Desiring to create new national conversations concerning the use of Scripture in worship and preaching, the Reverend Martha Simmons, President and Publisher of The African American PulpitJournal, commissioned world-renowned scholars to assist in the creation of The African American Lectionary. The Lectionary was launched December 2007.
The African American Lectionary is a resource tool that not only highlights the African American ecclesial traditions and moments that creatively express the joy, freedom, and the challenges of being both African American and Christian (e.g., Watch Night, African Heritage Sunday, Usher’s Day, and Women’s Day), but also recognizes days on the liturgical calendar that are celebrated across a variety of ecclesial traditions (e.g., Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost). By incorporating both the moments of significance across many African American ecclesial traditions, and some of the traditional moments of any lectionary cycle, The African American Online Lectionary allows users to select from a vast array of material that will exactly fit their congregation’s needs and expectations.
How You Can Participate
Clergy, worship leaders, historians, cultural anthropologists, poets, musicians, and others will contribute lectionary readings, poetry, music, and worship designs throughout the project. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to contribute to the lectionary.
Second and Third Year Online Commentary Facilitators
The following persons are responsible for providing oversight for the lectionary commentaries: Reverend Dr. Luke Powery, the Perry and Georgia Engle Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey; and Dr. Stacey Floyd-Thomas, Associate Professor of Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt Divinity School, Nashville, Tennessee.
Second and Third Year Cultural Historians and Folklorists
The following persons are responsible for providing oversight for the lectionary cultural resources: Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock and world-renowned singer, composer, and historian; Reverend Dr. Anthony B. Pinn, the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University and Executive Director of theSociety for the Study of Black Religion; and Dr. Juan Floyd-Thomas, Associate Professor of Black Church Studies, Vanderbilt Divinity School, Nashville, Tennessee.
Second and Third Year Lectionary Liturgists
The following persons are responsible for providing oversight for the lectionary worship units: W. Patrick Alston, music educator and Minister of Music, Macedonia Baptist Church, Baltimore, Maryland; Michelle Riley Jones, Minister of Music, Capitol Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church, Washington, D.C. and Executive Director, NEWorks Consulting; and Reverend Nolan Williams, Jr., who served as the music editor for the African American Heritage Hymnal and is the Minister of Music at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. and the Principal for NEWorks Consulting.
After two years of planning, a collaboration was formed in 2007 between Hope for Life International, Inc. (the owners of The African American Pulpit and creators of The African American Lectionary) and Vanderbilt Divinity School through its dean, the Reverend Dr. James Hudnut-Beumler, and the Director of the Kelly Miller Smith Institute on Black Church Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School, the Reverend Dr. Forrest Harris. This partnership has facilitated the implementation of the Lectionary. The Lilly Endowment has generously provided funding for the project.
Reverend Reginald Bell, Jr., Ph.D. student, University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee.
The BIG IDEA Facilitator
Reverend Leslie Houseworth, Master of Divinity Student, Emory University (Candler School of Theology), Atlanta, Georgia, and a 2008–2009 Fund for Theological Education Ministry Fellow.
First Year Online Commentary Facilitators
The following persons were responsible for providing oversight for the lectionary in Year One: Reverend Dr. Katie Cannon, the Annie Scales Rogers Professor of Christian Ethics at Union Theological Seminary/Presbyterian School of Christian Education (Union-PSCE) in Richmond, Virginia; the Reverend Dr. Brad Braxton, Associate Professor of Homiletics and New Testament at Vanderbilt University Divinity School in Nashville, Tennessee; and the Reverend Dr. Rodney Sadler, Jr., Assistant Professor of Bible at Union-PSCE in Charlotte, North Carolina.
First Year Cultural Historians and Folklorists
The following persons were responsible for providing oversight for the lectionary cultural resources for Year One: Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock and world-renowned composer and historian; and the Reverend Dr. Williams Wiggins, Jr., Professor Emeritus of Folklore and Ethnomusicology and Professor Emeritus of Afro-American Studies at Indiana University.
First Year Lectionary Liturgists
The following persons were responsible for providing oversight for the lectionary worship units for Year One: Leo Davis, Minister of Music at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis, Tennessee; and Reverend Nolan Williams, Jr., who served as the music editor for the African American Heritage Hymnal and is the Minister of Music at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.
Members of the Lectionary Creation Team
We salute the Lectionary Creation Team for their work during the planning stage of the project: Dr. Cain Hope Felder, Dr. W. James Abbington, and Dr. Mitzi Smith.