LaTonya McIver Penny wasn’t satisfied with surrendering chocolate or coffee or Facebook for Lent. Instead, the African-American pastor of a Baptist church in North Carolina decided to give up white supremacy this year.
Jonathan Brooks was introduced to faith growing up in a Missionary Baptist church on Chicago’s Southside. But he met Jesus through Christian hip hop. “For me, it’s always been the fact that [hip-hop] was a voice for the marginalized and for the oppressed,” Brooks says. And the same, he adds, is true about God.
Like any pastor, LaTonya McIver Penny is busy. But this minister’s calendar goes above and beyond busy. In addition to leading New Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Roxboro, N.C., and all that entails, Penny is a mother of two and runs a non-profit advocating for the respectful and compassionate treatment of children with disabilities in churches. And like other women pastors, Penny confronted her share of opposition from those who say females should not be pastors.
Some folks may be stunned to learn that a Baptist church in Charlotte, N.C., has invited a Muslim to preach from its pulpit on the first Sunday in Advent. But the idea seemed a natural one for the congregation, given its 2017 preaching and formational theme titled “Awakening to Immigration.”