Oct. 24, 2014
For Immediate Release
|Campbellsville University’s Kente Cloth award was presented to Dr. C.B. Akins, Sr., pastor of First Baptist Church Bracktown in Lexington, Ky. and moderator of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, for his servant leadership. From left: Dr. John Chowning, vice president for Church and External Relations and executive assistant to the president; Dr. Stephen J. Thurston, senior pastor of New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago, Ill.; Akins; Dr. Joseph Owens, chair of CU’s Board of Trustees; Dr. Frank Cheatham, senior vice president for Academic Affairs; and Dr. Keith Spears, vice president for Graduate and Professional Studies. (Campbellsville University Photo by Drew Tucker)|
By Drew Tucker, communications assistant
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Dr. C.B. Akins, Sr., pastor of First Baptist Church Bracktown in Lexington, Ky. and moderator of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, was presented with the Kente Cloth during a special luncheon in Campbellsville University’s Chowning Executive Dining Room inside Winter Dining Hall.
As the cloth was ceremoniously draped by Dr. Joseph Owens, chair of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Frank Cheatham, senior vice president for Academic Affairs, Dr. Keith Spears, vice president for Graduate and Professional Studies, and Dr. Joseph Thurston, pastor of New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago and immediate past president of the National Baptist Convention of America and recipient of the CU Leadership Award. Dr. John Chowning, vice president for Church and External Relations and executive assistant to the president, explained the significance of the cloth.
|Dr. C.B. Akins, left, upon receiving the Kente
Cloth Award. To the right is Dr. Joseph Owens,
chair of CU’s Board of Trustees, who helped present
the award. (Campbellsville University Photo by
“The Kente Cloth is bestowed upon outstanding individuals who have attained milestones in their lives, and certainly Dr. Akins has,” Chowing said.
It dates back to twelfth-century Africa where kings, queens and important figures would wear it as a sign of valor and honor. The cloth is ceremoniously draped upon the shoulders of those who have shown their worth to family, community and God.
“CU is pleased to present this Kente Cloth award to the Rev. Dr. C.B. Akins in recognition of his servant leadership as a minister and preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with numerous professional and civic achievements and accomplishments, and his commitment to reconciliation ministry and his compassion for humanity,” Chowning said.
“Let me sincerely express my gratitude for this kindness,” Akins said.
Chowning said the Dialogue on Race came out of a conversation 16 years ago with Dr. John Hurtgen, dean of the School of Theology, the Rev. Ed Pavy, director of Campus Ministries, the Rev. Lincoln Bingham, pastor of St. Paul Baptist Church @ Shively Heights in Shively, Ky., and other local pastors from African-American communities.
“This is a community and campus function activity,” Chowning said. “The student body benefits.”
Over the past 20 years, Akins said he has watched Campbellsville evolve, and stressed the importance of diversity.
“In the last century it was the socially acceptable thing to do, now it is the economically necessity that must be done if you are to survive,” he said.
He referenced a writer who asked if an invitation from someone meant it was an invitation to be like the invitee or to improve the invitee by being himself among him.
“We need folks who don’t look like us,” he said, “who don’t have the same background as us, and who don’t have the same accent. If we have diversity in planning, then we have a much better chance of having diversity in product.”
He said we have to move beyond diversity to inclusion because inclusion takes diversity to another level. Diversity needs to be in every level, from janitorial to the boardroom, because that’s where the difference will really be met.
“We need to give people access,” he said. “Education is the quickest way to erase racism and the quickest way out of poverty. It is the key.”
“The number one issue relative to Black America is education,” Dr. Stephen J. Thurston, senior pastor of New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago, Ill., said. “Education comes as a resource that we cannot overlook, undermine, nor can we negotiate that opportunity and responsibility that we have to ourselves to place ourselves in positions that will help us fulfill our goals, dreams, and aspirations and our yearning to be productive in our society. Here on this campus it is certainly encouraging and inspiring.”
“We must equip this next generation to see the value of people because they’re people,” Akins said. “They have worth just because they are. It matters not the color of their skin. We have to value one another. Each of us has been given something by God to make this world a better place. It’s up to us to use it for His glory.”
The Rev. Michael Caldwell, pastor of Pleasant Union Baptist Church and director of the Zion Bible Institute, and Hurtgen said that the Institute and Campbellsville University has had a partnership since 2008.
“We have classes for ministers, laypeople, and others in our churches,” Caldwell said.
Hurtgen and other CU faculty teaches college level Old and New Testament classes Tuesday nights. There are currently 22 students enrolled in the class.
Also in attendance was the Rev. Matt Smyzer, executive director of the Baptist Fellowship Center of Louisville and the Kente Cloth’s first recipient. Tony Young, mayor of the city of Campbellsville, and Eddie Rogers, Taylor County judge/executive, were also in attendance representing Greater Campbellsville United, an organization that works with local government and state government to promote equal opportunity, equality, and positive relationships among all racial, socio-economic, religious, gender and political entities in the local community.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,500 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.