by Chris Sanders, KBF Interim Coordinator
The Friday afternoon Leadership Institute at the Kentucky Fellowship Annual Spring Gathering has long been a time for cutting-edge speakers to inform and enlighten. This week at the Annual Spring Gathering was no exception. In fact, it set a tone of excitement and expectancy for the whole weekend.
Dr. Kevin Cosby is pastor of St. Stephen Baptist, a church of several thousand members in Louisville’s largely African-American West End. He came to the Leadership Institute for a Q and A with moderator Bob Fox in the early afternoon. Over 50 people gathered to listen and learn about St. Stephen and Simmons College, and to discuss what joining the Fellowship means to him and his church.
Cosby, a graduate of Southern Seminary in the early ‘80’s, said he knew President Jimmy Carter and all his old professors, and had wondered where they all went. He just didn’t know the Fellowship, and was glad to find that there was still a statewide and national network of his old friends and mentors. He announced that his church was joining KBF, with the intention of being a full collaborative partner working together.
Cosby sought out the Fellowship at this time in part due to his concern about Calvinism being introduced into his community. He sees the strain of Calvinism some are trying to plant there as harmful, as it makes people fatalistic and docile, the antithesis of African-American empowerment. He is opposed to all forms of discrimination, be it race, gender, or sexual orientation.
Cosby is committed to Louisville’s West End and lifting up African-Americans in the community he lives and works in. He asked Fellowship churches to send “missionaries” to collaborate in a spirit of social justice is his neighborhood, to share common strengths and gifts.
As President of Simmons College of Kentucky, Cosby held the audience in thrall with his tales of the birth, death, and re-birth of Simmons. But that’s a whole ‘nother article (for now, go to www.simmonscollegeky.edu). In short, Simmons’ outstanding growth, its very recent designation as a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) and an interest in collaborating with Baptist Seminary of Kentucky energized the room.
Cosby brought greetings from Simmons at the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky banquet that evening. He reiterated his hope for new friendships, new partnerships and new identity together. From what I could see at the tables, the feeling was more than mutual.