The Black Minister’s Conference of Montgomery County, Maryland recently installed Haywood Robinson as its president through 2019.
Robinson previously served as vice president of the organization, which was founded in 1981 to represent “Black religious life, expression and spirituality to the people of Montgomery County.”
He is pastor of The Peoples Community Baptist Church in Silver Springs, Md.
The Black Minister’s Conference of Montgomery County, which serves the nation’s 11th most prosperous county, has been drawn into the public square with increasing frequency in recent years. It co-sponsored prayer vigils in 2015 for the victims of the Emmanuel A.M.E. Church shootings in Charleston, S.C. and stood in solidarity with the Baltimore Black Ministers Alliance in the wake of unrest that rocked the city in the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death.
Last summer, the Black Minister’s Conference responded to unprecedented levels of violent clashes between law enforcement officials and African Americans across the nation with a prayer vigil and a town hall meeting featuring passionate testimony from many of the county’s elected officials and community leaders.
Robinson said this year the conference will focus on a balance between “in reach and outreach.”
“We want to be the place of repair and renewal, first for the clergy of Montgomery County,” Robinson said. “We also understand our responsibility to serve the wider community. We hope to equip our ministers with the tools to take a more central role in in the community.”
Already this year, the organization has been called on to respond to the alleged uptick in hate violence following President Trump’s election. The group now partners with Montgomery County’s Communities Against Hate, a new organization founded to track, address and teach citizens to positively respond to hate incidents in Montgomery County. The Minister’s Conference plans to remain active in being a “voice of moral conscious” in local, state and even national public policy facilitating information and participating in appropriate advocacy efforts, Robinson said.
Robinson emphasized that the group’s goal in public policy engagement is to “apply a spiritual lens to public engagement.”
Members of Montgomery County’s Legislative Black Caucus Delegation to the state General Assembly welcomed more involvement from the county’s Black Minister’s Conference.
“For me, it is wonderful to have Pastor Haywood Robinson as President of Montgomery County’s Black Ministers’ Conference,” said Pam Queen, Maryland State Delegate (District 14-Montgomery County). “He is the pastor of my church! So, I can have direct interaction with him.”
“Typically, the Legislative Black Caucus is more engaged with the faith-based community in Baltimore City and Prince Georges County, so, having more involvement from Montgomery County is a welcomed change,” Queen said.
State Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins (District 20-Montgomery County) also encouraged greater involvement from Montgomery County’s Black churches.
“Black churches have historically served as advocates for social justice and equality, and I have no doubt that Pastor Haywood Robinson will build on this legacy. In these difficult times, we need our Black leaders more than ever,” she said.
“The Black Ministerial Conference is also served by its Political Action Chair, Laurie-Anne Sayles, who I’ve worked with very closely,” Wilkins added. “With this combination of leadership, we will see great things. I look forward to working with Pastor Haywood Robinson and all ministerial leaders.”
Sayles will represent the conference at the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus’ first regional town hall meeting scheduled in Burtonsville on June 10.