Dr. Gerald Smith receives Racial Reconciliation Award from CU

Dr. Gerald Smith receives Racial Reconciliation Award from CU

Oct. 16, 2015
For Immediate Release

 

By Jordan Snider, student news writer

CAMPBELLSVILLE, KY. – Dr. Gerald Smith, professor of African American history, the Martin Luther King Jr scholar-in residence at the University of Kentucky, and the pastor of Pilgrim Baptist Church in Lexington Ky., received the Campbellsville University Racial Reconciliation Award Oct. 14 at the university.

 
Dr. Gerald Smith speaks at chapel before receiving the Campbellsville University
Racial Reconciliation Award. (Campbellsville University Photo by Rachel
DeCoursey)

The Campbellsville University Racial Reconciliation Award is given to those who have shown outstanding characteristics of servant leadership in bringing people together past racial matters and across lines of ethnicity, and who have been significant bridge builders for the community, according to Dr. John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president at Campbellsville University.

Smith was the kickoff speaker at chapel for the university’s the Dialogue on Race, a special series of discussions about race through the months of October and November.

 

“Don’t let your light burn out,” said Smith, referencing Matt. 5:16, as he spoke at the university’s chapel service.

Smith began the sermon telling a story of a young boy and a father. The two were catching lighting bugs and the son asked how the bug got its light. The father didn’t know the correct answer and told his son that he didn’t know.

After the father left, the boy took out a lighting bug and began to examine it, eventually he squeezed the bug. He ran inside to tell his father that he found out that the light came from the stuff on the inside. It’s a child like answer but a great resemblance of a child like faith, Smith said. Smith said the gospel is simple; you don’t need a Ph.D. to understand it.

“Those of us in Christ have God in us,” Smith said. “We are children of the light and we have that light inside of us. How do we handle social issues like Black Lives Matter? It’s simple, we don’t let our light burn out,” Smith said.

Smith referenced Martin Luther King Jr. and his passion for speaking about materialism. He believes King would be saddened by how the world has become so materialistic.

Smith said there is nothing wrong with looking nice but we shouldn’t forget about what’s on the inside because that what counts. Smith said he can remember the day when he wouldn’t have been allowed to preach in an integrated community but now can because of those who let their life shine.

“Now days it is so easy for us to say ‘if it doesn’t affect me, why should I care?’ As brothers and sisters in Christ we should come together and be different, refuse to walk in darkness in the communities of Kentucky. I challenge you to not let our light burn out; we can make a change because we will stand out. One person can make a difference cause of the light inside of them,” Smith said.

Chris Wright, a CU student, led worship songs, and Chowning introduced Smith.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,500 students offering over 80 programs of study including24 master’s degrees, seven postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.

 

Among those attending the chapel service during which the Rev. Gerald Smith, pastor of Pilgrim
Baptist Church and professor of History, Theodore A. Hallam Professorship, Martin Luther King
Center Scholar-In-Residence at the University of Kentucky, began Campbellsville University’s
Dialogue on Race series were from left; Front row – The Rev. William McCann, pastor, Little Zion
Baptist Church; Dr. Twyla Hernandez, assistant professor of Christian missions at Campbellsville University; the Rev. Pamela Buford, Fannie Chapel CME; Smith, the Rev. Samuel Bland, Pleasant
Hill Baptist Church in Greensburg, Ky.; and Jennifer Garrison, assistant professor of educational ministries at Campbellsville University. Second row – The Rev. Louis Henry, pastor, Santa Fe Baptist Church and moderator of Zion District; the Rev. Michael Caldwell, pastor, Pleasant Union Baptist Church; Dr. Joseph L. Owens, senior Pastor at Shiloh Baptist Church, Lexington, Ky. and chair of the Campbellsville University Board of Trustees; and Jamie Lawrence, assistant to Church Outreach and head bowling coach. Third row – The Rev. Jerry Cowherd, Greensburg; Dr. Shane Garrison, dean of online education and associate professor of educational ministries; and the Rev. James Washington, Pastor of New Zion Baptist Church. Fourth row – The Rev. Ed Pavy, director of campus ministries at Campbellsville University; Dr. John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president at Campbellsville University; the Rev. Ronnie Turner, associate
pastor at Pleasant Union Baptist Church; and Dr. Scott Wigginton, professor of pastoral ministries and counseling. (Campbellsville University Photo by Rachel DeCoursey)