I have had the pleasure of hearing and meeting to men who seek to bring the Orthodox Church to the African-American Community. Subdeacon Paul Abernathy (yes, he is related to the late Civil Rights leader) is a brilliant foot soldier in the faith serving as the Director of FOCUS Pittsburgh. This organization is giving hope for people in a poor and inner city neighborhood. He and his staff have touch the lives of a core group of people in the community that now they are developing into a parish in their own right.
Paul is blessed to have a cousin in high places. Bishop Thomas of the Charleston, Oakland, and Mid Atlantic Diocese of the Antiochian jurisdiction understands the challenges of inner city African-American communities having grown up and taught in Patterson, NJ. Bishop has given the Brotherhood our marching orders to do what Arabs, Greeks, Serbs, and other cradle Orthodox believers cannot do. We African-American converts must make every effort to make our ancient faith known to our communities.
Bishop Thomas will be making a visit to St. Basil in Poquoson January 18th and 19th. I hope to run into Subdeacon Paul sometime before we all meet again in Lima OH. Until then, here are these two leaders speaking at the 2012 Ancient Faith Afro-American Conference.