From Thursday, Feb. 9 to Saturday, Feb. 11, New Life Fellowship hosted a Black History Weekend featuring speaker Jaime Kowlessar, senior pastor of Dallas City Temple Adventist Church in Dallas, Texas. Among the events of the Black History Weekend was Lighthouse Vespers, a co-curricular chapel co-sponsored by the Black Student Christian Forum (BSCF) and Campus Ministries at Pioneer Memorial Church (PMC). In celebration of Black History Month, the theme for Feb. 10’s Lighthouse Vespers was “Prayer, Protest, and Politics.”
Held one Friday a month from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., Lighthouse Vespers programs typically last longer than University Vespers, held on the other Friday evenings at PMC by Campus Ministries; the same was true for Friday, Feb. 10’s Lighthouse Vespers.
Feb. 10’s Lighthouse Vespers started with choral performances from Deliverance Mass Choir (DMC) who also lead out in praise and worship.
Avielle Fernand (senior, liberal arts, pre-occupational therapy) said, “Lighthouse did an excellent job in uplifting God’s word through song and praise as well as being forthcoming about celebrating something that should never be forgotten. I enjoyed the collaboration of historical truths with our spiritual condition as a church and nation. I learned that it is essential to be aware that the past cradles the present and that in acknowledging the injustices that are still radiating throughout our world is standing up for the will of God.”
Kowlessar took the pulpit after the choir and delivered his sermon, where he first called for the minorities in the audience to “Go back and educate your children, teach them about the system.”
Deandra Joseph (freshman, speech pathology & audiology) said, “I appreciated that Kowlessar addressed problems in the black community as well as other minority communities and then gave us solutions. Overall, it was a heartwarming and informative program that I would definitely want to experience again!”
One of the points that Kowlessar reiterated was, “Don’t let anyone change your story.”
He explained how important the story of an individual is and how important it is to prevent people from changing one’s story. Kowlessar shared a personal anecdote about how when he checked in into a hotel and wasn’t able to use the keycard to unlock his hotel room, he was then informed by the front desk worker that his phone was beside the keycard and it sucked the information off of the keycard. He related this to how people will try to erase or change your story.
Sydney St. Jean (freshman, liberal arts/humanities, pre-medicine) said, “The altercation of one’s personal story is a huge problem. Bringing awareness to these problems are extremely important in order to grow and prosper as a student body. It’s great to have a discussion on pending issues in our society and in the black community.”
Kowlessar continued his message pointing out specific problems he encountered with skin color and the importance of telling your story. He charged the audience to “Go tell your children your stories. Tell them, ‘I am an African-American’. Be proud of yourself, be proud of your skin color, and be proud of your history.”
Tori Cooke (freshman, pre-physical therapy) said, “I thoroughly enjoyed the sermon at Lighthouse for Black History Month. I appreciate him choosing topics that may be sensitive and controversial because these are real things that are affecting us minorities.”