Black history calls all of us to pick up the mantle and continue the work that ancestors and leaders have begun to ensure freedom for all people. Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Mary McLeod Bethune (all of whom were Methodists) were some who left us with a mantle. Also, the folks in our neighborhoods, schools, communities who have helped us grow in wisdom and grace are worthy of our recall as we call people to remember the struggle for freedom. Youth and young adults also grieve the loss of grandparents and prominent figures who have passed away. Congregations long for those leaders they can't seem to replace. The preached word should require us to pick up the mantle, not as a replacement for grieving, but as a treatment of it.
Our guest writer for the Season after Epiphany is Rev. Dr. B. Kevin Smalls. Dr. Smalls is a native of Washington D.C., and an elder in full connection with the Baltimore-Washington Conference. He currently serves as the senior pastor of Hope United Methodist Church in Southfield, Michigan.
Dr. Smalls holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Claflin University, a Master of Divinity from Interdenominational Theological Center, and a Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary, where he focused on postmodern preaching to contemporary audiences with an emphasis on hip hop culture. During his twenty years in service to the United Methodist Church, Dr. Smalls has served in a variety of appointments. He is the founder of the Young Adult Christian Cafe and the Off the Hook Bible Study. He is an author who has published a book and a number of articles in periodicals, and he is a contributor to the Africana Worship Book.
Dr. Smalls is married to Lisa Karen Smalls. They share parenting responsibilities for their six children. We are pleased to share Dr. Smalls’s unique voice, poetry, and insights into the Scriptures with the wider church during this season.