Barry Black: The First African-American Chaplain to U.S. Senate

By Teresa Neuman

“What many people don’t see on CSPAN2 is the level of spirituality among the lawmakers. The apostle Paul said in Philippians 4 that there are saints in Caesars’ household, and I can assure you there are saints on Capitol Hill.”

(Washington, D.C.)—World Magazine has taken a fascinating look into the world of Barry Black, the first African American chaplain to the U.S. Senate who has been serving in that capacity for nearly seven years.

As noted in the report, Black—raised in a poor, inner-city Christian home in Baltimore—describes his job as “singing the Lord’s song in a strange land,” a paraphrasing of Psalm 137.

Barry C. BlackWriting of Black’s childhood, reporter Edward Lee Pitts said: “When he was 8 years old, Black’s mother bought a record of sermons by theologian Peter Marshall. Without many records in the home, Black played it over and over again until he memorized most if it. He could even recite it with a fair imitation of Marshall’s Scottish accent. What the young Black didn’t know at the time: Marshall, a Presbyterian minister, had twice been appointed Senate chaplain in the late 1940s.” (Photo by: Luke Sharrett for WORLD)

“I would probably have had difficulty spelling Senate at that time,” said Black. “But there I was memorizing Marshall. I believe that was God’s way of placing a marker in my life so that years later I would be reminded that the fact I am now a successor to Marshall was probably His idea rather than mine.”

As many as 30 senators reportedly come to Black’s weekly prayer breakfast. “What many people don’t see on CSPAN2 is the level of spirituality among the lawmakers,” said Black. The apostle Paul said in Philippians 4 that there are saints in Caesars’ household, and I can assure you there are saints on Capitol Hill.”

According to the report, Sen. Tom Carper, a Democrat from Delaware, calls the Thursday senators-only Bible study one of the best half hours he spends each week.

“Oftentimes Barry Black will remind us that we are servants,” said Carper, who counts all the Republican friendships he has that are strengthened by the study. “I have a good, quick group right there to look to when working on legislation together. It helps build a sense of trust when you learn what each other thinks and what our values are.”

Follow the link provided to read more about Chaplain Barry Black.

Source: Edward Lee Pitts – World Magazine

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