Hundreds gathered last week on the campus of Morehouse College in Atlanta to commemorate the 27th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. College of Ministers and Laity.

Sponsored by the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse, the College of Ministers and Laity (formerly Religious Emphasis Week and, later, Science and Spiritual Awareness Week) is the Chapel’s signature program. While the week long event provided informative discussion centered on religious, sociological and educational topics, it was the worship services and emphasis on intergenerational preaching that seemed to draw the most attention from both students and visitors alike.

This annual gathering began, April 12, with the formal induction of the 2012 Class of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers. A total of 39 diverse religious leaders, representing various faith traditions were bestowed this privilege. The selections are based on nominations with respect to the individuals and how their contextual ministries harness an appreciation for and institute practice of Kingian philosophy for social justice, transformation and unity in communities of faith and abroad.

While this proved to be a special day for many, for one Baltimore native, currently a seminary student, the event meant just a little bit more. This is said in part that of the impressive roster of 2012 honorees, I personally hold meaningful connections with several of them, including; the Rev. Dr. Harold A. Carter Sr., pastor of New Shiloh Baptist Church; the Right Rev. Warren M. Brown, presiding prelate in the AME Zion Church and the Rev. Dr. Alvin C. Hathaway, senior pastor of Union Baptist Church.

Rev. Carter was actually inducted into the Board many years ago, but he was present this year for the unveiling of a portrait to be hung in the Chapel.
What has made Rev. Carter such an effective teacher, mentor, pastor, and preacher is that he bears an integrity that is steeped in a real communion with and commitment to Christ. A model of godly character, he has pursued and taught others how to effectively engage ministry with a spirit of excellence and enthusiasm.

A true apologist for his faith, Rev. Carter is infamous as a masterful expositor of the scripture and is particularly celebrated as a powerful evangelist. In addition to serving as my “family pastor” beginning with my great grandparents for over 40 years now, Rev. Carter’s ministry has produced more than 100 powerful pastors, preachers and activists inclusive of my maternal grandfather.

Prior to answering the call to serve as senior pastor of Union Baptist Church, Rev. Hathaway served as assistant pastor of the Pennsylvania Ave. AME Zion Church where I was reared and nurtured in my religious and ministerial formation. With an impassioned zeal for urban ministry, Hathaway possesses a rare personality that is magnetic across generational lines. He yields a proven track record as a steward of ministry with great administrative skills. I perceive that in addition to all this, his selection was inclusive of the solemnity with which he commits himself to family, education, church and social justice.

Two years after I answered the call to ministry in 1995, I met the current presiding prelate of the Philadelphia-Baltimore Annual Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in the person of the Right Rev. Warren Matthew Brown. It was in 1997, during an Annual Conference held in Washington, D.C. that Bishop Brown “christened” my ministry with the sign of gifting me with his personal cross that he bore throughout his ministry prior to entering the Episcopacy of Zion Methodism. For a young lad struggling with the call, this had the greatest encouragement and meaning. Since that time, he has served the church heralded as a pastor of pastors. He is revered as a fiery preacher with excellent narrative ability. Bishop Brown is a tenacious leader, who is able to produce accountability from church leadership. His selection and induction onto the board confirms the imprint he has made on me and others who appreciate critical thinking and making good practice of theology.

These gentlemen, along with the other celebrated inductees continually work hard toward the Divine prayer request “On Earth as it is in Heaven.”

Rev. Brandon Moore

Special to the AFRO