Reflections That Stand Out In His Memory While Watching “Eyes Upon the Prize”

I. The pastor’s proud day
in retrospect was 1976 and
the day he said to his country
congregation, “If you will
not allow the Rev. Allen,
black, female pastor of
the African Methodist Episcopal
Church in town, in our pulpit
for pulpit exchange Sunday, I
cannot continue to be your
pastor.” He went home and told
his wife that he had just re-
signed his pastorate. She said,
“What in the world are we
going to do?” He said
with fingers crossed behind
his back, “We will not be
forsaken.” He did the pulpit
exchange with the other
congregation of his yoked
ministry. Rev. Allen preached
the gospel to the Presbyterians
and he preached to the African
Methodist Episcopalians and
the country congregation used
lay leadership that Sunday.
Grace fell on that Southern
Kentucky town and the rest, as
they say, is history. Forty
years later, he wishes Rev.
Allen well whether somewhere
here or at heaven’s gate.

II. The Southern Presbyterian
all white, youth group came
to New York for a summer
work experience in 1997.
They had no idea they would
be working in a black church.
He, a wet behind the ears
seminary student on his first
summer assignment, was in
charge of recreational activities
between the urban, black kids
and the South Carolina white
kids. It was to be “Pass the
Grapefruit” from under the
chin to under the chin. The
South Carolina kids said, “We
have never touched blacks
before and if we do this, we
can never mention it once we
get back home. He said, “Well,
you’re not in South Carolina
now.” They passed the grape-
fruit; they laughed; they hugged;
they painted, cleaned and wor-
shiped. He had no idea what
happened once they got back
home, but that wasn’t his re-
sponsibility. He just gave it
up and gave it to God.

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2 thoughts on “Reflections That Stand Out In His Memory While Watching “Eyes Upon the Prize”

  1. GREAT one I missed earlier. Good thing it wasn’t lemons….40 years: are our memories that old? We certainly aren’t; Gertrude Stein quote i often put on bday cards “We are always the same age inside.”

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