Church invites all to Black History Explosion

Haven-Peniel UMC in Philadelphia invites everyone to come learn about “the African American experience from then till now” during its “Black History Explosion” on Saturday, Feb. 24, 5 to 7 PM, followed by dinner. Admission is free. The church is at 2301 West Oxford St.

“We’ll be telling our story through narratives, poetry, music, dance and more,” promises William Brawner, the 136-year-old church’s young pastor, who has helped attract dozens of youth and adult members to the church since he arrived in 2017. Brawner is also Coordinator of Urban Ministries for the Conference.

A recent rehearsal showed young, raw talent being refined for performance by adult mentors of the church. Teens and pre-teen orators portrayed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman and other black history icons, while eager young dancers learned moves to perform to the music and jungle sounds Broadway’s The Lion King.

The two-hour celebration, involving mostly young people, will go back to the Egyptian cradle of civilization and other African empires, wade in the turbulent waters of slavery and racial oppression, ennoble the African American fight for freedom, civil rights and equal opportunity, and exult in black achievement and responsibility for social change right up through President Barack Obama and beyond. Learn more and Download the Flyer!

Brawner saw on our Conference’s website (and in NEWSpirit newsletter) last fall an announcement of Racial Reconciliation Grants for “United Methodist young people with a passion and a project for pursuing racial justice.” He applied through the UMC Discipleship Ministries Division on Young People. The grants of up to $2500 are awarded on a rolling, mon­­­­­thly basis, while funds last, to help youth “take action in their church, community and the world.”