Lift Every Voice: African-American Colleagues in Preaching and Worship

By Scott Hoezee

Most of the year 2020 has been filled with pain. There has been COVID-19 pain beyond anyone’s control. But there has also been racial pain that most certainly could be controlled if we found the will do so. But in the face of so much racial injustice that demeans many sisters and brothers in Christ, we at the Center for Excellence in Preaching and at our sister center the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship have been reflecting on how blessed we are and have been over the last many years by the work, voices, witness, preaching, singing, and teaching of many African-American scholars and preachers. In this moment when racism tries to block out the voices of people whom some deem to be less than, we want to amplify those voices.

Below are a trove of rich resources—many shared with the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship—of sermons and lectures, panel discussions and concerts, books and articles and webinars and more, in and through which our African-American partners and colleagues have blessed the church so richly. We celebrate this work and ministry. We give praise to God that we can all work together for the greater glory of God in the church. And we hope that delving into some of the resources gathered here will not only bless your ministry and life but give you the opportunity to praise God for speaking through all of God’s people.

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Meditations on Preaching
by Francis Grimké
Say It! Celebrating Expository Preaching in the African-American Tradition
by Eric Redmonds
Blue-Note Preaching in a Post-Soul World
by Otis Moss III
Exodus Preaching
by Kenyatta R. Gilbert
They Like to Never Quit Praisin’ God
by Frank Thomas
How to Preach a Dangerous Sermon
by Frank Thomas
Introduction to the Practice of African American Preaching
by Frank Thomas
The Holy Spirit and Preaching
by James Forbes
Were You There?
by Luke Powery
Dem Dry Bones
by Luke Powery
Spirit Speech
by Luke Powery
Whose Gospel?
by James Forbes
I Believe I’ll Testify
by Cleophus LaRue
Preaching with Sacred Fire: An Anthology of African American Sermons, 1750 to the Present
Martha Simmons and Frank A. Thomas, editors
The Last Blues Preacher: Reverend Clay Evans, Black LIves, and the Faith That Woke the Nation
by Zach Mills
The Words of Gardner Taylor,
5 volume set
Learning from a Legend: What Gardner C. Taylor Can Teach Us about Preaching
by Jared Alcantara
How Shall They Preach: The Lyman Beecher Lectures and Five Lenten Sermons
by Gardner C. Taylor

Resources from Calvin Seminary and the Center for Excellence in Preaching


Preaching during Crisis: Igniting Pastoral Imagination in the Face of Fatigue, Unrest and Crises Town Hall co-presented by Odyssey Impact and CEP is an additional partner.

Stob Lecture Colloquium – Dr. Willie Jennings – January 21, 2019 “The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race”

Preaching With Your Mouth Shut – Rev. Luke Powery, November 6, 2014


Emmett G. Price III
Reginald Smith
Frank Thomas

Voices of African-American preachers on the CEP Audio Sermon site:

Angela Taylor Perry, The Truth About Love, Restoring the Soul

Anthony Carter, What’s In The Bible, A Sacrifice of Praise (Symposium 2008), The School of Grace

Arlan Palmer, The Coming of the Spirit

Arthur Cribbs, Giving Thanks in Tough Times

Cleophus LaRue, It Will Surely Come: A Meditation

Denise Kingdom Grier, Surpassing Knowledge (Symposium 2011)

Derrick Lewis Noble, A Means of Escape

Eleazar Merriweather, O For A Faith That Will Not Shrink

Emmett G. Price III, Three Not So Simple Questions (Symposium 2018)

Frank Thomas, Psalm 13, How Long? Symposium 2012, Speak Lord, for Your Servant Heareth, Symposium 2010

Lisa Weaver, The Ascension (Symposium 2018)

Luke Powery, What do You See? (Symposium 2017), Not to Worry (Symposium 2013), The Heart of Faith (Symposium 2009)

Reggie Smith, Strength While We Wait

Tim Blackmon: The Savior of Justice for the Needy (Symposium 2019), Who are the People of God?, Where does God Live?, Scapegoat

Resources from the Calvin Institute for Christian Worship


Danjuma Gibson
Esau McCalley

John Witvliet’s interview of Uzee Brown of Morehouse College on March 11, 2020
The Many Streams of African American Congregational Song: 2019 Calvin Symposium on Worship | Plenary with James Abbington, Robert J. Bastini, Jason Max Ferdinand, Birgitta Johnson, Bryan Johnson, Carl MaultsBy, Judith Christie McAllister, Anthony B. Vinson, Sr., Lisa M. Weaver
Music at Morehouse: Cultural Healing and Prophetic Witness – A conversation on formation, music, witness, and healing with Danjuma Gibson, David Morrow, Uzee Brown, Jr. and John Witvliet
Worship, Cultural Difference, and a Kingdom Vision for Life Together with Dominique DuBois Gilliard, Nikki Lerner, Isaac Wardell, David M. Bailey, Michelle Higgins, Mark Charles
Living As Holy, a worship service from the Symposium 2020 with Nicole Massie Martin and Urban Doxology
Preaching 1 Peter with Dennis Edwards from the Symposium 2020
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing: The Aeolians at Calvin University – The Aeolians of Oakwood University led a festival of songs at the Calvin Symposium on Worship in January 2020.
The New Testament and the Public Witness of the Church by Esau McCaulley
Praying at the Table, Praying at the Font with Esau McCaulley, John D. Rempel, Lester Ruth, Lisa M. Weaver, John D. Witvliet
Workshop | The Multiple Streams of African-American Worship Practices: Insights for the Global Church with James Abbington, Jason Max Ferdinand, Carl Maults By, Bryan Johnson, Anthony B. Vinson, Sr., Lisa M. Weaver, John D. Witvliet
10 Ways to Appropriately Respond to Racially-Fueled Events with Nikki Lerner
Worship in Times of Crisis and Trauma with Bo H. Lim, Anthony L. Bennett, Nancy Kirkwood, Nikki Lerner, Kathy Smith
Evening Worship: “Grounded in God: A Faith-filled Testimony of the African American Church in Song” Leaders: James Abbington; Doug Brouwer; Choir, Liturgical Movement, and Scripture Arts Teams; Norma de Waal Malefyt; Duane Kelderman; Eron Lauchie; Hannah Barker Nickolay; Jackson Nickolay; Debra Perry; Lisa Sung; Kathleen Turner; and Lisa Weaver
Racial Injury and Trauma: Redeeming the Christian Story and the Democratic Experiment with Danjuma Gibson and Christina Edmonson
A Worship Celebration of Song and Scripture with Raymond Wise and the Calvin Gospel Choir
Open to Embracing the Difference with Emmett G. Price III
A Mosaic of Faith and Hope: A Festival of Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs with alumni of the James Abbington Church Music Academy of the Hampton Ministers’ Conference lead a festival of congregational songs.
Lord, Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace – this festival of song, prayer, and scripture is led by the Conference Gospel Choir, a group comprised of members of the Calvin College Gospel Choir, Hope College Gospel Choir, Grand Rapids African American Youth Chorus, Calvin College Africapella, and conference participants.
Preaching to the Streets: Homiletics for Urban Ministry by Reginald Smith


Christina Edmonson

Advocating for Justice that Restores – An Interview by Todd Cioffi, Dominique DuBois Gilliard
Many Streams of African American Congregational Song with James Abbington
How People Change with Reginald Smith and Duane Kelderman
10 Ways to Appropriately Respond to Racially-Fueled Events, Cultivating Vital Worship 2019 with Nikki Lerner
Preaching While White: Practices of Humility and Courage in the Face of Injustice with Reginald Smith and Meg Jenista Kuykendall
“I Hear You”: Dialogue around Race Stories with Nikki Lerner, Proskuneo Ministries
Reflections on Racial Conciliation and Ethnic Diversity in Christian Worship with David Bailey and Mark Charles
Becoming a Reconciling Community with David Bailey and Elena Aronson
Singing Spirituals, Singing Gospel with Raymond Wise
Music from African-American Traditions for Use in Any Congregation by James Abbington
Cultural Intelligence for the Pastoral Leader by Christina Edmonson

Article (interview)

Eric Washington

Emmett G. Price III on Racial Reconciliation Resources for Congregations by Joan Huyser-Honig
Emmett G. Price III on Studying Black Christian Experience by Joan Huyser-Honig
African American Worship Treasures by John D. Witvliet, James Abbington, Eileen Guenther, Michael Hawn, William Heard, Emmett G. Price III
Richard Henry Boyd and the National Baptist Hymn Book with Eric Washington
Eric Washington on God’s Sovereignty and Slavery by Joan Huyser-Honig