April 2021 News Perspective Online

7 Last Words

Members of the Black Seminarians Association (BSA) at Perkins School of Theology will host the annual Seven Last Words service on Good Friday, April 2, beginning at 7 p.m. The service will take place live via webinar.  

The special Good Friday service is an African American tradition woven around the last utterances of Christ before his death on the cross.  Five years ago, the BSA hosted its inaugural Seven Last Words service at St. Luke “Community” UMC, and now it’s quickly becoming a Perkins tradition, too.  The Rev. Bryant Phelps (D. Min. ’17), a Perkins grad and now senior pastor of Church of the Disciple in DeSoto, was the visionary behind the original event.

“During the six hours Jesus was hanging on the cross, the Gospels have recorded seven statements that Jesus said,” said Rev. Nerissa Grigsby, co-Vice President of the BSA. “An annual 7 Last Words service not only commemorates the life and legacy of the Son of God, but also provides key insights into how those sayings are still relevant and pertinent in our daily lives today.”

The program also serves to showcase emerging preachers.  

“Traditionally, this service gives voice to the up-and-coming generation of pastors,” said Wyatt Wallace, III, President of the BSA.   “In the past, we’ve typically had a mixture of preachers from the community as well as Perkins alumni and students. This year, we have six Perkins students speaking, and one alumnus.”

The worship service was coordinated by the BSA’s 2020- 2021 officers, including Wyatt; Grigsby; Amy Cannon, co-vice president; Brenda Smith, secretary/treasurer, and Samuel Spraggins, student advocacy chair.

The speakers are:

  1. Minister Wallace Wyatt, III (M. Div. student)
    • “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
  2. Rev. Thomas Hayden Garner (D. Min. student)
    • “Today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
  3. Minister Shandon Klein (M. Div. student)
    • “Woman, behold, they son! Behold, thy mother.” (John 19:26-27)
  4. Minister Braxton Bush (M.Div. student)
    • “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthews 27:46 / Mark 15:34)
  5. Rev. Brenda Smith (M. Div. student)
    • “I thirst.” (John 19:28)
  6. Rev. Barbara Taylor (M. Div. student)
    • “It is finished.” (John 19:30)
  7. Rev. Jeremiah Johns (Perkins Alum – M. Div.)
    • “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)

The virtual service is open to everyone. Join the service at the link below:

Webinar ID: 919 4205 2048

Said Grigsby: “We invite everyone to come and experience this service in hopes that each one has a renewed sense of passion, as we see Jesus on the cross and what Christ endured for our redemption!”