On a chilly day in February of this year, I was enjoying a delightful time with one of my daughters, replacing the radiator on her hand-me-down, 240,000 mile vehicle. Changing the radiator in the middle of my southwest Baltimore street made for some unexpectedly wonderful encounters. There was our mail carrier who reintroduced himself after he and I had met at a neighborhood party. An older woman, impressed by my daughter’s dirty hands, said to me, “You need to come and get my son off the couch. He won’t do nothing.” There was the neighbor who used to do his own car work and offered to loan tools should we need any, another neighbor who I learned refurbishes motorcycles (“I’ve been riding them since before I had a driver’s license!”) and the random stranger who drew out an 8” knife blade to help us remove a stuck hose. “Don’t worry,” he said somewhat reassuringly, “I won’t stick you.” I was reminded how, in the midst of so many challenges in our public life, most people in most places ..
Tag: <span>Epistles from Baltimore</span>
I. His eyes wouldn’t stay shut.
They taped them shut,
and then they’d just pop open again …
Initially, it seemed like small talk on a typical Sunday afternoon. That, at least, is what I imagined when I sat down at a round table with Treshawna Williams, LaChelle Rice, and Phyllis Scott in Reid Chapel, just outside the main sanctuary of the First & Franklin Presbyterian Church, in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore. It was a little after 2 p.m. on March 24, 2019. Our church was preparing to host a community-wide concert to raise awareness about the violence in our city. So it was that Treshawna, Phyllis, and LaChelle were there, in Reid Chapel, preparing to speak in a traditionally white church. They were united by a story of loss: each had lost a child to the violence in Baltimore, Treshawna just a few months before.2
If the concert that followed was powerful (and it was), the testimonies of these three women were inexpressibly beautiful and to the same degree painful. Yet wha..
The beginnings and journey of Knox Presbyterian Church reveal a church community with a defiant hope and a tenacious faith to overcome all odds to be followers of Jesus Christ.
Knox was started in 1926 as a mission to address the great Black migration from the south to the North. My own family moved from Chester, South Carolina to Baltimore in that migration.
My parents were products of Brainard Institute, a missionary effort started by Presbyterians in South Carolina. They and my grandparents settled in East Baltimore and were some of the first members of the fledgling missional Knox church.
At a time when Black Presbyterian ministers were primarily trained at the two Black Presbyterian seminaries, Johnson C Smith and Lincoln University, the church chose a young man of 26 years by the name of Herman Octavius Graham, relatively new to our shores from Jamaica.
He was chosen to start the effort with little to no resources and there was still much debate then abou..