Launched during segregation, lectureship celebrates 75 years

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Hundreds of African American Christians gather for preaching, singing and fellowship.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

ST. LOUIS — For 75 years, the National Lectureship of Churches of Christ has brought together Christians from across the U.S. for preaching, singing and fellowship.

Hundreds of members of predominantly African American congregations gathered at a hotel near St. Louis’ Gateway Arch for the recent milestone event.

“We want your spirits to be fed, your bodies to be comfortable, your fellowship to be delightful and your time here to have been worth the visit,” Conley Gibbs Jr., minister for the Gateway Community Church of Christ, said in welcoming believers to his home city along the Mississippi River.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson sent a letter of greeting: “It appears attendees are set for a meaningful week of worship, prayer, and service centered on the redemptive power of faith. Efforts by the faith community are vital to the spiritual and physical needs of Missouri citizens.”

St. Louis Mayor Lida Krewson joined National Lectureship organizers in paying special tribute to minister Ralph P. Smith Sr., who has served the Centreville Church of Christ in East St. Louis, Ill., for 45 years.

The mayor called the longtime preacher “an inspiration to us all.”

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RELATED: There’s a divide in the church: This minister wants to bridge it (reporting from St. Louis)

This story appears in the June 2019 edition of The Christian Chronicle. 

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