African Americans have been enriching the Presbyterian Church for more than two centuries.
The first ordained African American minister in the Presbyterian Church was John Gloucester. Rising from slavery and oppression, he formed the first African American Presbyterian congregation in the early 1800s in Philadelphia.
Many years later, in 1974, PC(USA) ordained the first black woman, the Rev. Dr. Katie Cannon, to ministry. Cannon would go on to establish the Center for Womanist Leadership at Union Presbyterian Seminary.
These are just two examples of African Americans who have played important roles in the lives of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and America. In February, we celebrate their contributions.
For more information on notable African American Presbyterians, check out these resources:
- Historical Firsts: African Americans in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - printable bulletin insert created by the Presbyterian Mission Agency, 2020
- African-Americans Have Rich History in the Presbyterian Church - article by the Presbyterian News Service, 2019
I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every people anyone who fears him and practices righteousness is acceptable to him.
Bible Study on Black Resistance
PC(USA)’s Racial Equity and Women’s Intercultural Ministries (RE&WIM) is launching a virtual Bible study to celebrate Black History Month. The series is called “Models of Black Resistance Past and Present.”
It will stream on the RE&WIM Facebook page at 5 p.m. each Wednesday from February 1 through March 15. On February 22, Lead Presbyter Flo Barbee-Watkins is the study leader.