First United Methodist Church in Morristown will host its Missions Festival on April 12 through April 14, with keynote speaker U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black.
The Baltimore native was elected the 62nd chaplain of the Senate — a nonpartisan, nonpolitical, and nonsectarian office — in 2003, and previously served in the U.S. Navy for more than 27 years.
In the Navy he rose to the rank of rear admiral and ended his career as the chief of Navy chaplains.
As chaplain, Black opens the Senate each day in prayer and provides counseling for senators, their families and staff.
Among his various services, he helps with research on theological and biblical questions, provides marriage enrichment counseling and officiates at weddings, funerals, memorial services and seasonal observances.
As a rear admiral, Black’s personal decorations included the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit Medal and two Defense Meritorious Service Medals.
He was also twice awarded Meritorious Service Medals and Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, as well as numerous unit awards, campaign, and service medals.
Other recognitions he has received include the 1995 NAACP Renowned Service Award for his contribution to equal opportunity and civil rights, the 2002 Benjamin Elijah Mays Distinguished Leadership Award from The Morehouse School of Religion and the 2004 Image Award, “Reaffirming the Dream – Realizing the Vision,” from the Old Dominion University chapter of the NAACP for military excellence.
The festival begins Friday with a 12-hour prayer vigil at 6 a.m., followed by a free meal at 6 p.m. catered by the United Methodist Women and, at 7 p.m., music and an introduction of missionaries.
On Saturday, there will be a pancake breakfast in the gym sponsored by the United Methodist Men at 8:30 a.m., followed by a devotional by Black at 9:30 a.m.
From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. that day there will be 45 minute workshops with Riding High, Holston Home for Children, Knox Area Rescue Ministry, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, Helping Hands Clinic of Morristown, Hagar International and the Jubilee Project.
Participants can attend their choice of two workshops. At 5:30 p.m., there will be an international covereddish meal, with worship and 7 p.m. there will be music and worship with Black. Sunday’s events will begin with traditional services at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., with Black preaching. Sunday school, with missionaries in miscellaneous classes, will begin at 9 a.m. Black will participate in a simulcast of “The Connection,” First United Methodist’s casual, contemporary service, at 10 a.m.