Bluefield University will hold a special chapel service to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019 at 10 a.m. The event will be held in the Harman Chapel on Bluefield University’s campus and will feature a keynote address from Dr. Johnny B. Hill, who currently serves as the Dean of Shaw University School of Divinity.
The special chapel service will include the presentation of two awards to local pastors. Bishop Frederick M. Brown of The Faith Center Church located in Bluefield, West Virginia, and Rev. Garry D. Moore, Sr. of Scott Street Baptist Church in Bluefield, West Virginia will be the recipients of Bluefield University’s Community Service and Justice Award. Following the chapel service, there will be a panel discussion of Martin Luther King, Jr’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” in the Chandler Boardroom located on the 3rdfloor of Lansdell Hall. Lunch will follow in Shott Hall with honorees and speakers in attendance.
Keynote speaker Dr. Johnny B. Hill is the author of “Prophetic Rage: A Postcolonial Theology of Liberation” (Eerdmans Publishers, 2013) and “The First Black President: Barack Obama, Race, Politics, and the American Dream” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). Hill is a passionate advocate for justice, reconciliation, peace and human rights in America and abroad. Prior to joining the Shaw University family, Dr. Hill served as Department Chair and Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina. He recently held the position as Special Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar in Residence and Dean of The Baptist School of Theology at The Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
Dr. Hill was raised on the edge of an old plantation in the back roads of southeast Georgia, son of a sanitation worker and mother who nursed the sick and dying of the city’s rest home. Brother of seven sisters and a large extended family, Dr. Hill was nurtured in a culture of love and community, even amid the great struggles of poverty and racial hostility in the post-civil rights south. After finishing high school and a military tour, he enrolled at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA.
At Morehouse, Dr. Hill experienced his call to ministry and scholarship, majoring in Sociology. He later completed theological studies at Duke University Divinity School (Master of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees) before moving to Evanston, Illinois to pursue his doctorate in philosophical theology at Garrett Seminary on the campus of Northwestern University. During his doctoral studies, Dr. Hill became active in community development, gang prevention, immigration reform, reconciliation, and working for economic justice in Chicago.
Dr. Hill was Associate Professor of Theology at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and earlier he served as Director of African American Student Affairs at Northwestern University. He also formerly held positions as president of the Foundation for Reconciliation and Dialogue and senior pastor of the historic Greater Good Hope Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He held appointments as visiting scholar and theologian-in-residence at the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College in 2010. Dr. Hill is also the author of “The Theology of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Desmond Mpilo Tutu”, and “Multidimensional Ministry to Today’s Black Family.” He has written numerous articles and essays and presented at colleges, seminaries, and universities across the nation, including Princeton University, the University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, McCormick Theological Seminary, Bellarmine University, and Mercer University.
Dr. Hill also is the founder and president of The World House, an interfaith coalition of faith leaders from diverse religious and cultural traditions working together to continue Dr. King’s dream of racial and economic justice. His rallying cry has been quite simply, “Now is the time, and now is our time to realize the change that we seek!” He is also the proud father of two wonderful children, his daughter (Regan) and son (Jonathan).
Bishop Frederick M. Brown, founder and senior pastor of The Faith Center Church in Bluefield, West Virginia Bluefield University will be one of two recipients of Bluefield University’s Community Service and Justice Award. Bishop Brown of Charlotte, North Carolina has served as the senior pastor for 25 years at The Faith Center Church in Bluefield and is being recognized for his outstanding community service work in the area as well as his continued fight for justice for all. Under the direction of Bishop Brown, The Faith Center Church has provided food for the homeless, clothing for those in need, educational training such as finance classes, mission training, free concerts for the community, and also has held a “Christian Unity In The Community Event” to bring local churches in the community together. Growing up in a Christian environment, great spiritual things in his life were inevitable. Bishop Brown’s ministry began as a singer, musician, and songwriter; then God began revealing the next dimension of his destiny which was to develop a five-fold ministry.
Bishop Brown earned a bachelor’s degree in Business from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia and received his pastoral training at Rhema Bible Training Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Bishop Brown’s other current ministerial responsibilities include serving as presiding bishop for Communion of Covenant Ministries International and the founder and senior pastor of Faith Center Church of Charlotte in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Rev. Garry D. Moore, Sr. of Scott Street Baptist Church in Bluefield, West Virginia will also be receiving Bluefield University’s Community Service and Justice Award. Rev. Garry D. Moore was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, was educated in the public schools there and graduated from Amherst County High School in 1976. Following graduation, he was granted the opportunity to join an international singing and educational organization called Up With People. This organization afforded him the opportunity to travel the world for three years visiting all continents except Australia, and every country except Afghanistan sharing his wonderful musical talent. One of his most memorable performances was at the Super Bowl XIV in 1980 between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the former Los Angeles Rams in Pasadena, California. After Up With People, Mr. Moore continued his education by matriculating at the University of California at San Diego. After attending four quarters of college, he moved to Los Angeles where he worked at the Broadway Department Store. While in Los Angeles his life changed and he was called into the Christian Ministry and was licensed to preach on Palm Sunday, 1981 at the Second Benevolent Missionary Baptist Church. After moving back home to Lynchburg and continuing his ministry, the following Easter Sunday, 1982, he was ordained to preach by Lovingston Baptist Church of Madison Heights, Virginia. He and his family moved to West Virginia in 1970 to accept the call at Scott Street Baptist Church, this year he is celebrating his 28th anniversary with the family of Scott Street Baptist Church.
Rev. Gary Moore of Rev. Moore received his B.S. from Bluefield University in 1993, his Masters of Divinity from Virginia Union University in 1997, and is presently a doctoral candidate from Virginia Union University School of Theology in Richmond, Virginia. Rev. Moore has completed all residency and academic requirements for his degree, and plans to defend his doctoral project later due to obligations on a project at his church (The Family Life Opportunity Center (FLOC), which received its 501(C) 3 tax-exempt status in April 2005.
Rev. Moore is a very family and community-oriented minister and truly believes in Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision about changing society for the better and instilling unity, love, and forgiveness in our communities. Dr. King inspired communities across our country to improve and make a difference for others. This project (FLOC) is the development of Rev. Moore’s ministry and will do just that by blessing our church and community for years to come. Because of this vision, Rev Moore was presented the Dr. Martin Luther King Peace Award in Charleston, WV, in January 2017, by the MLK Statewide committee. Rev. Moore worked in the political field for several years. He served three terms on the city of Bluefield Board of Directors from 1997-2007. Later, he was appointed to the office of mayor, from 2005-2007. In his 10 years of service, he served as vice mayor and mayor. In January of 2018, he was certified as a substitute teacher and is now working as a substitute teacher for the Mercer County Public School System.
Moore is married to the former Kimberly Harris of Lynchburg, Virginia. Mrs. Moore is a West Virginia probation officer in Princeton, West Virginia. God has blessed this union with two children, Kiara, and Dexter.