Editor's note: The following information is a press release from the Department of American Studies at Rutgers University.
Gospel Singers will spotlight Black History Month with a concert of spiritual music at Rutgers University’s Voorhees Chapel of Douglass College at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013. This special program will honor the memory of the Rev. Charlie H. Brown (1921-2012).
The Master of Ceremonies for the event will be Pastor Brenda Lumzy Hicks of Mt. Calvary Missionary Church of New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Also singing will be the Choir of Tabernacle Baptist Church of New Brunswick, the Mass Choir of Antioch Christian Church in New Brunswick, the Unity Choir of First Baptist Church of South Bound Brook, GAMAE Garifuna of Brooklyn, New York, First Light Christian a cappella of Rutgers University, and Mt. Calvary Missionary Church. All six groups are known for encouraging active audience participation and for providing spiritual uplift.
The keynote speaker will be Linda Brown, daughter of the late Rev. Charlie H. Brown, who brought to the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, Somerset, New Jersey, a sense of history and a structured approach to the ministry.
His gift was a highly chronicled period that produced a historical legacy to the church. The church continued to grow and develop, never forgetting the history, but also staying in stride with the turbulent 1960s, the triumphant 1970s the “Me” 1980s and finally taking the church to the brink of the 1990s, when once again First Baptist would change leaders, but continue to move forward.
Rev. Brown provided a different type of leadership. Under his direction fundraising became a method of enhancing fellowship, as well as, building and renovating the church. Youth development and training reached a high point as future leaders were trained and supported.
Under the leadership of Rev. Brown, FBCLG’s congregation grew from several hundred to 3,000 members and he oversaw the construction of a church auditorium and addition that connected the church to the parsonage.
At the time of Rev. Brown’s retirement, the church had approximately 20 deacons, 27 trustees, an assistant to the pastor, seven associate ministers, one full-time and one part-time secretary. There was a fully-staffed nursery school that operated during Sunday morning service. The church was in the midst of planning for a new church. The new building project began in 1985. At the time of Rev. Brown’s retirement, the congregation already had more than $1 million in the Building Fund.
This annual, free, public concert at New Jersey’s State University’s Voorhees Chapel, is sponsored by the American Studies Department and the Committee to Advance our Common Purposes of Rutgers University. The Voorhees Chapel is on Chapel Drive in New Brunswick, near the intersection of George Street and Nichol Avenue. Free parking will be available at the nearby deck on Lipman Drive, with frequent shuttle service to the Chapel.
The program is produced by Pastor Brenda Lumzy Hicks in New Brunswick with Professor Angus Kress Gillespie of the American Studies Department of Rutgers University. For more information, call (848) 932-9174.