The annual banquet of the Black Ministries Program on May 10, 2018, was a celebration of the hard work done by the 14 men and women graduating from the long-running program.
Established in 1982, the Black Ministries Program is a national model for building the leadership, training, and preaching skills of laity and clergy in the urban church. Graduates have completed a challenging two-year program with courses on topics such as preaching, ethics, theology and church administration.
Class President Deborah Carter welcomed graduates and their families, as well as alumni, faculty and friends. Marie Woods served as Mistress of Ceremony and Marvika Francis, Class Chaplain, gave an Invocation and Blessing of the Food.
Deborah Barrows read a passage from Scripture and the Rev. Althea Walker, who heads communications for the BMP Alumni, offered greetings and introduced those at the head table, including Bishop Dr. Benjamin K. Watts, who directs the program, Interim Academic Dean of Hartford Seminary Dr. Scott Thumma, Professor Miriam Therese Winter, and Director of Recruitment and Admissions Tina Demo.
Gymnetta Fludd provided a rousing musical selection before dinner.
The evening’s program continued with a special reflection from James Leach Sr. and Bishop Dr. Watts, followed by a moment of silence in memory of Min. Stacy Anderson-King.
Bishop Dr. Watts introduced the main speaker of the evening, the Rev. Dr. Charlie L. Stallworth, Senior Pastor of the East End Baptist Tabernacle Church in Bridgeport and a State Representative of the 126th District.
The 2018 graduates are: Richard Afaawua, Deborah Barrows, Darlene Bass, Deborah Carter, David Cineus, James Coppedge, Marvika Francis, Evanna Holloway, James Leach Sr., Yvonne Matthews, Steve Spain, Michael Watts, Nadine Wizzard, and Marie Woods.