Long-serving Richmond Pastor Delivers Thanksgiving Message To Hundreds at Northside Church

Arthur Jones, who has pastored Richmond’s Triumphant Baptist Church for 33 years, delivered the 2011 Thanksgiving Message today entitled “Be Ye Thankful” to a crowd of more than 300 at Trinity Baptist Church.

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RICHMOND, Va.–  Since he’s been pastor of Triumphant Baptist Church for 33 years, Dr. Arthur M. Jones had an especially poignant message for hundreds who gathered at the Trinity Baptist Church today– “Be Ye Thankful.”

The longtime pastor has outlasted most who’ve come and gone  from pulpits in the hundreds of churches in Virginia’s state capital. 

Jones’  message was delivered less than a mile from his church on Lamb Avenue and only a few blocks from First African Baptist Church, whose members joined those from Trinity and Triumphant in a Thanksgiving tradition that goes back longer than 20 years.

Today was the first time in more than a decade that I was able to renew this tradition of attending the Thanksgiving Service, which rotates between the three churches whose pastors take turns each year bringing the Thanksgiving Day Message.   Setting with my uncle his fiance and my mother, I was reminded of the times that I was brought to this fellowship service as a child.

“Every day is a day of Thanksgiving,” Jones said.”We as Christians who are born again in the newness of light don’t need a special day because every day is Thanksgiving.”

He used the words of Psalm 92 and story of King David as recounted in the book of Chronicles to depict the Biblical imperative to give thanks. 

“Sometimes we are so busy  asking that we don’t take the time to thank God for what He’s already done,” Jones said.

More than 300 packed the Trinity Baptist sanctuary, which is located at 2811 Fendall Avenue.

Hearing Dr. Jones’ message and the words of both Trinity’s pastor, Dr. A. Lincoln James, Jr. and my own home pastor, Dr. Rodney Waller really put me in the right frame of mind for this traditional holiday that often gets overlooked by the rush for Christmas.

Soledad O’Brien is Alabama’s Next Big Story

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien visits University of Alabama campus Wednesday night just days before her next Black in America documentary airs and two days after a diversity gathering of university administrators from around the state in Tuscaloosa.

I hesitate to use the cliche “timing is everything.”  But, in describing CNN Special Correspondent Soledad O’Brien’s  7 p.m. address tonight at the University of Alabama, the matter of WHEN it is happening makes it a story.

For CNN, O’Brien’s address here comes four days before the worldwide premiere of the next “Black in America” documentary.    “Black in America:Silicon Valley, the New Promised Land” airs this Sunday, Nov. 13.

We are likely to see CNN Special Correspondent Soledad O'Brien build on some of the points from her latest book in tonight's address at University of Alabama.

For the University of Alabama, O’Brien’s visit falls in the same week as a statewide diversity enhancement conference involving administrators, faculty and staff from 12 of the state’s 14 colleges and universities.

Monday’s event was targeted at those responsible for such things as hiring faculty, allocating budgetary resources and improving the overall climate for diversity on our state’s campuses.

Tonight, our nearly 32,000 students will be the target of much of what we expect the former “Today Show” anchor and Harvard graduate to address in her talk entitled “Diversity: On TV, Behind the Scenes and In Our Lives.”

It’s been just over a year since the University of Alabama paid tribute to Autherine Lucy Foster, James Hood and the late Vivian Malone Jones, the three African-American students whose enrollment represented UA’s first steps toward desegregation.

We won’t soon forget the November 3, 2010 dedication of the Malone-Hood Plaza and Autherine Lucy Clock Tower.

But, across the country, Alabama’s been cast in somewhat of a negative spotlight the last few months because of HB 56, a law aimed at curbing illegal immigration in our state.   Governor Robert Bentley now says the law needs to be simplified.

As an Afro Cuban, Soledad O’Brien has brought authenticity to the discussion of the national debate over immigration reform.   Here in Tuscaloosa,  standing room only crowds gathered to discuss her 2008 documentary
“Latino in America”

While the numbers were much smaller for last month’s discussion of “Latino in America 2: In Her Corner,” the passion of the student panel of three Hispanic students who told their stories was just as strong as the central figures in the documentary.

Tonight’s much-anticipated visit by O’Brien allows us to the discussions about race and ethnicity outside of a single classroom and engage an entire campus, which itself has been mired in controversies that remind us that there is work to be done to promote the University as a welcoming environment for everyone.

Additionally, for journalists like myself who are charged with preparing the next generation of media practitioners, O’Brien will shine the light not only on the issues captured with her camera, but behind the camera to see the experience of the producers of these media messages.

It all happens just about 12 hours from now.