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The Black Church in Detroit

 

The Black Church in Detroit: A Yearlong Initiative of Detroit Public TV

The signature event in the PBS winter season is the eagerly awaited series by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., “The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song.” This landmark four-hour series traces the 400-year-old saga of the Black Church in America and its role as the bedrock institution of African American endurance, grace, freedom and solidarity through times of joy and times of turmoil.

But more than just showcasing this achievement in public broadcasting, DPTV will be bringing the story home through a series of reports on the historic importance and continuing influence of the Black Church in Detroit.

And what better place to showcase this content than on “American Black Journal,” the nation’s longest-running news show devoted to the African American experience? Starting on Sunday, Feb. 14, the show will feature in-depth and heartfelt explorations of the dramatic and decisive role that the Black church has played in the history of the city.

These discussions will be led by the host of “American Black Journal,” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Stephen Henderson.

The series is being produced in partnership with the Ecumenical Theological Seminary and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, and it is being informed with input and guidance from a range of church and civic leaders representing the diversity of  theology and thought in the city.

“The Black Church in Detroit” is not intended to be a one-time, Black History Month special. Rather, it is a year-long commitment to telling a story of the religious institutions that have served the community from the days of the underground railroad through the struggle for social justice and the ongoing quest for a better and more equitable future.

The Black Church in Detroit's Womanist Theology Watch Party Graphic
St. Charles Lwanga Parish Prepares for its Centennial Celebration

St. Charles Lwanga Parish Prepares for its Centennial Celebration

“American Black Journal” producer AJ Walker visits St. Charles Lwanga parish, formerly known as St. Cecelia Church, for a wide-ranging discussion with its pastor, Fr. Theodore Parker, as the parish prepares for its 100th-anniversary celebration. The two talk about the history of Black Catholicism, the church’s name change and the controversy over a painting of Black Jesus.

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Detroit’s Black Catholics Continue Efforts to Rebuild Community After Population Decline

Detroit’s Black Catholics Continue Efforts to Rebuild Community After Population Decline

Detroit’s Black Catholic population isn’t what it used to be. What was once a thriving religious community here has dwindled over the years. Host Stephen Henderson sits down with leaders from the University of Detroit Mercy and the Archdiocese of Detroit for a discussion about the dwindling population of Black Catholics and parishes Detroit and what efforts are being made to rebuild the community.

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4/26/22: American Black Journal – The Black Catholic Church in Detroit

4/26/22: American Black Journal – The Black Catholic Church in Detroit

“American Black Journal” continues its series The Black Church in Detroit with an examination of the impacts and contributions Black Catholics and parishes have made in Detroit. Host Stephen Henderson and producer AJ Walker will explore the history of the Black Catholic Church, its support during the civil rights movements and its focus on equal rights and racial justice.

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4/12/22: American Black Journal – The Role of Pastors’ Spouses in the Black Church

4/12/22: American Black Journal – The Role of Pastors’ Spouses in the Black Church

American Black Journal Host Stephen Henderson continues the Black Church in Detroit series with a look inside the lives of pastors and their spouses to see how they support the ministry individually and as a couple together. He talks with Bishop Edgar Vann and his wife Elder Sheila Vann from Second Ebenezer Church about their roles. Plus, producer Marcus Green talks with Detroit Church Pastor Sonny Smith and his wife Sherita about staring their ministry and serving the church congregation together.

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2/22/2022: American Black Journal – The Black Church in Detroit One-Year Anniversary Special

2/22/2022: American Black Journal – The Black Church in Detroit One-Year Anniversary Special

American Black Journal celebrates The Black Church in Detroit’s one-year anniversary in collaboration with the Ecumenical Theological Seminary and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History with a special hour-long episode. Host Stephen Henderson explores the impact of the series and the importance of the church in the Black community. Plus a never-before-seen interview from BridgeDetroit’s Orlando Bailey, and an original gospel performance from Bishop Charles Ellis III and gospel musician Paul Porter.

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1/25/22: American Black Journal – Prison Ministries in the Black Church

1/25/22: American Black Journal – Prison Ministries in the Black Church

Host Stephen Henderson continues “The Black Church in Detroit” series with a look at the church’s support system for incarcerated men, women and their families. He hears more about the religious services being offered by the prison and jail ministries. Plus, American Black Journal producer AJ Walker visits a Detroit church that’s helping exonerated prisoners re-enter society after spending decades behind bars.

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12/28/21: American Black Journal – The Role of Pastors’ Spouses in the Church

12/28/21: American Black Journal – The Role of Pastors’ Spouses in the Church

American Black Journal Host Stephen Henderson continues the Black Church in Detroit series with a look inside the lives of pastors and their spouses to see how they support the ministry individually and as a couple together. He talks with Bishop Edgar Vann and his wife Elder Sheila Vann from Second Ebenezer Church about their roles. Plus, producer Marcus Green talks with Detroit Church Pastor Sonny Smith and his wife Sherita about staring their ministry and serving the church congregation together.

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11/30/21: American Black Journal – Womanist Theology

11/30/21: American Black Journal – Womanist Theology

Host Stephen Henderson continues American Black Journal’s yearlong series on The Black Church in Detroit with a look at Womanist Theology, a term that refers to an approach to the study of God centered on the experiences and perspectives of African-American women in the United Stated and throughout the diaspora.

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9/28/21: American Black Journal – COVID’s Impact on Ministers and Congregations

9/28/21: American Black Journal – COVID’s Impact on Ministers and Congregations

As faith leaders, ministers are called upon to comfort parishioners in times of sorrow and need, but what happens when the grief touches them personally? Continuing the yearlong Black Church series, host Stephen Henderson checks in with ministers and their congregations to see how COVID-19 has impacted them. Plus, Stephen speaks with two pastors about vaccinations and hesitancy to get them.

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Women in the Black Church

Women in the Black Church

Stephen Henderson has a candid conversation with three women ministers about their roles in the church today, and the ongoing debate over gender equality in the ministry.

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