NET Nebraska | The Black Church
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Join us for a virtual conversation about "The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song," featuring clips from the series. We'll explore the history of the Black church in Omaha and how it is still shaping the community today.
- Pastor Kenneth Allen, Zion Baptist Church
- Ra’Daniel Arvie, University of Nebraska-Lincoln student and Assistant Director of Choirs & Praise Team at Mount Nebo Missionary Baptist Church
- Dr. Gloria Epps, Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and retired Omaha Public Schools teacher
- Jade Rogers, Adjunct professor at Metropolitan Community College and the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and the Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of The House of Afros, Capes, & Curls
Learn more about this event and explore resources at netNebraska.org/BlackChurch.
"The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song" is a moving four-hour, two-part series from executive producer, host and writer Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, traces the 400-year-old story of the Black church in America, all the way down to its bedrock role as the site of African American survival and grace, organizing and resilience, thriving and testifying, autonomy and freedom, solidarity and speaking truth to power.
The documentary reveals how Black people have worshipped and, through their spiritual journeys, improvised ways to bring their faith traditions from Africa to the New World, while translating them into a form of Christianity that was not only truly their own, but a redemptive force for a nation whose original sin was found in their ancestors’ enslavement across the Middle Passage. A production of McGee Media, Inkwell Media and WETA Washington, D.C., in association with Get Lifted.
Major corporate support for THE BLACK CHURCH: THIS IS OUR STORY, THIS IS OUR SONG is provided by Johnson & Johnson. Major support is also provided by the Lilly Endowment Inc., Ford Foundation, and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS and public television viewers.
The Black Church premieres on Tuesday, February 16 at 8pm CT on NET.
You can also watch the series online at PBS.org or on the PBS Video App.
Learn more about the series: pbs.org/BlackChurch
Join the conversation #BlackChurchPBS
Thanks to The Great Plains Black History Museum, our community partner for this event. Learn more at gpblackhistorymuseum.org/.
Welcome to OVEE
- Maggie Berndt
Community Engagement Manager for NET, Nebraska's PBS & NPR Stations
- Jade Rogers
ade Rogers is a Historian, an adjunct professor at Metropolitan Community College and the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of The House of Afros, Capes, & Curls. After receiving a B.A. in Black Studies and Elementary Education, she obtained a Master’s in African American World Studies from the University of Iowa. She has also completed all course work towards her PhD in History at Morgan State University and has training as an Archivist and Oral Historian. Jade has taught on the elementary level in the District of Columbia Public Schools, and the University of Iowa as well. She has worked with numerous non-profit youth serving organizations including Boys & Girls Clubs of Omaha and Greater Washington in Maryland, Girls Inc., The Center for Holistic Development and most recently served as the Youth Engagement Manager at The Union for Contemporary Arts. Building community and service are a part of Jade’s strong belief system. A Class XIX graduate from Heartland Blueprint, a United Way of the Midlands program to help increase minority racial/ethnic volunteer leadership, and she has served on many education and non-profit executive boards. With over 20 years of teaching and community engagement experience, she strives to raise the visibility of the tremendous contributions and accomplishments of African Americans in the Midwest. For The Great Plains Black History Museum, she has served as its Archivist, facilitates public programs on a variety of historical topics and also conducts Oral History and Genealogy workshops. And...she's a blerd at heart. Science fiction, fantasy, World of Warcraft, The Sims and Octavia Butler. Star Wars + Star Trek + the X-Men hold equal space in her heart.
- Dr. Gloria J. Epps
Dr. Gloria J. Epps is an active member of Zion Baptist Church in Omaha, Nebraska. She has, since a child had, an internal drive towards education in general and a passion for Christian Education in particular. Educated in Omaha, she graduated in 1965 from Omaha Central High School and then from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a Bachelor of Arts in German in 1978. While serving the Omaha Public Schools, she completed in 1983 her Masters Degree in English, which added another teaching field. During the 31 1/2 years of service to the Omaha Public Schools, Dr. Epps has taught German, English, Radio Broadcasting and Speech. She has recently earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Religion at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and has graduated with a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry in Biblical Studies from Apex School of Theology in Durham, North Carolina. Professionally Dr. Epps has had the opportunity to write curriculum for the Omaha Public Schools in the areas of Non-Sexist Education, English and German as well as one of the first grants for KIOS-FM, the Radio Station of the Omaha Public Schools. She chaired the Curriculum Selection Committee for German Textbook Selection and then continued by leading the teachers to develop Outcome Based Tests for all five levels of German. Dr. Epps’ concern for the global development of young people, especially urban young people, helped to motivate her to begin coordinating overseas travel for her German students. From 1988 to 2000, she led predominately low-income students in unforgettable trips to Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. The same concern that Dr. Epps has shared for young people and for community issues can be seen in her commitment to personal involvement with the community. She serves on several board and committees in the community that impact the education of Omaha youngsters including the Omaha School of Music where she serves as the Chairperson. Dr. Epps has studied with the National Baptist Congress since a teenager and as a result of that training, as well as that provided by her local church and state congresses, she now serves as the Director of Christian Education for Zion Baptist Church, teacher of Old Testament for Zion, a writer for the Sunday School Publishing Board, former Vice-Chairman of the National Christian Education Committee, Director for the Sunday School Publishing Board December Conference and instructor for the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education for over 20 years. She is further fortunate to serve on the Sunday School Publishing Board Corporate Board. She has been honored to serve two terms as Dean for the New Era Baptist State Congress of Christian Education as well as other offices. Formerly the Secretary of the New Era Baptist State Convention of Nebraska and as the State Director of Christian Education. She gladly accepts opportunities for her to teach in Omaha, nationally, and as a part of the team of teachers who travel to Germany each summer to the National Baptist Association of Germany, to Kenya with Dr. Geoffrey Guns and his Kenya Missionary Travel, and for the Congress of Christian Education. She is for the eighth year in 2016 a part of the team traveling with the University of Nebraska at Omaha to Bethsaida Excavations in Israel. This fall Dr. Epps serves as an Adjunct Professor for the Religious Studies Department at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. As a prolific denominational writer, Dr. Epps has written curriculum for classes locally and abroad as well as articles for the Sunday School Publishing Board’s Christian Education Informer. When Dr. Epps is not working, she enjoys traveling, reading, attending classical music concerts, and singing. She has two children, La Donna and Thomas and 9 grandchildren and 2 Great-grandchildren.
- Pastor Kenneth Allen
Pastor Kenneth A. Allen, Sr., was born in Little Rock, AR, and accepted Christ at the age of five. He graduated with honors from Central High School in Omaha, NE, and continued his education by earning a Bachelor Arts in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Divinity from Morehouse School of Religion at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) of Atlanta, GA. Upon being licensed and ordained by his father, Pastor James Allen, at Vine Memorial Baptist Church in Philadelphia, PA, Rev. Allen began full-time ministry as Director of Christian Education at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Detroit, MI. Since that time, he has also served in full-time ministry as Pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Philadelphia; Minister of Education and Growth and Senior Pastor of Mount Zion First Baptist Church in San Antonio, TX; and Christian Education Director at New Hope Church in Wayne, MI. Rev. Allen has held a number of positions and received recognitions, including the following: E.C. Morris Ministers Institute-Arkansas Baptist College Institute Preacher; Dialogical Lab Facilitator; Institute Board of Directors Founding Board Member, San Antonio Community of Churches for Social Action, (1999-2005) Founding Board Member, San Antonio Community of Churches for Social Action, (1999-2005) Founding Member/Secretary, Central Texas Alumni of the Interdenominational Theological Center, (1999-2005) Chairman, San Antonio City-County Martin Luther King Commission (1999, 2000) San Antonio Mayor’s Commission on Integrity and Trust in Government, (2002-2003) Inductee, Educators’ Hall of Fame, National Education Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa (2003) Honorary Alumnus of the Year, Huston-Tillotson College Austin, TX (2004) Co-Founder, North Omaha Optimist Club (2008) President, Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Metropolitan Omaha (2009-2012) Presidential Community Service Award, Breakfast Optimist Club of Omaha (2011) Inductee, 2012 Class, Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers BJ Nelum Lighthouse Award, Center for Holistic Development Omaha, NE (2014) African American Leadership Award, Urban League of Nebraska (2017) In 2008, Zion extended the pastoral call to Rev. Allen to serve as its twelfth pastor-shepherd. He has instituted numerous ministries and outreach efforts at Zion, resulting in a renewed commitment to discipleship, community empowerment, and education. Rev. Allen also serves as President of the New Era Baptist State Congress of Christian Education; Western Region 1 Coordinator for the Sunday School Publishing Board of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. Rev. Allen has also served as Chairman of the City-Wide Revival for the Baptist Pastors and Ministers Conference of Omaha and Vicinity; President of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Omaha; and for 20 years was a faculty member in the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education. Pastor Allen has also served as an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, teaching courses on Theology and Religion in Black America. Rev. Allen is married to the former Sandra Lavern Coaxum, Esq., and has two adult sons, Mathis Sterling and Kenneth Andre, II. After over 30 years of preaching the Gospel, Rev. Allen strongly believes that his calling is mentoring, preaching and teaching “the unsearchable riches of Christ” to a spiritually poverty-stricken generation.
- Ra'Daniel Arvie
Ra’Daniel Terrell Arvie was born on August 28th, 2000 in Shreveport, Louisiana. He is the fifth of six children born to the Pastor Terry and First Lady Pamela Arvie. He accepted Christ at an early age and became a member of the Hurricane Bluff Baptist Church in Shreveport, Louisiana, and in July of 2005, became a member of the Mount Nebo Missionary Baptist Church after his father was called to the pastorate there. Ra’Daniel is currently the Assistant Music Director and leads in Praise & Worship at his home church, Mount Nebo Missionary Baptist. He also serves on the Website Team, Media Team, Young Adult Ministry. He is active both locally in the New Era Baptist State Convention of Nebraska, Inc., and nationally in the National Baptist Convention U.S.A. Inc., serving as the Youth Choir Director for the New Era Baptist State Convention of Nebraska, Inc, and leads praise and worship during the General Session of the Young Adult Division of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., a National Baptist Youth Rally Ensemble member, a member of iROCK, and is a member of the Music and Worship Arts Auxillary of the National Baptist Convention. Ra’Daniel is most known for his God – given anointing to sing, and thusly has had the opportunity to minister locally and nationally through God’s providence. He is the fourth member of The Arvies, a new gospel singing group which he and his siblings Jennifer, Taylor, Terry, and Abigail Arvie formed together. Ra’Daniel is a proud graduate of the Omaha Central High School, Class of 2018. Currently, he is a student at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, majoring in Human Resource Management.
The views and opinions expressed in this online screening are those of the presenters and participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of ITVS, public broadcasting, or any entities hosting the screening.