In 1976, when Gerald Ford was President of the United States, Black History Month was established and celebrated for the first time in February. President Gerald Ford called upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history” ( Black History month grew out of a movement by the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), to research and promote achievements by Black Americans and other peoples of African descent( The issue of race is still a major topic today. Let me share some of my own experiences.


I grew up in Sydney, Australia, being born during the Great Depression. I lived there for 45 years before moving to America. In those early years as a boy and then as a young man, I can’t remember ever seeing a black man. The only times I would see a person of color were in movies. Consequently, living in an all-white society, there was no issue of racism because we were basically all of one race and color. There was an issue regarding Australian Aborigines, but that is a topic for another time.

As I said, I never knew a black person. Then in 1971, when I was 36 years of age, I came to America to Teen Challenge in New York. I traveled with a fine young man who had come out of the gay community. On our first weekend, a young lady working at Teen Challenge invited us to go to church with her. We accepted the invitation and ended up that Sunday at a black church in Harlem called ‘The Soul Saving Station for Every Nation.’ This was my first experience at a black church. Wow, it was different from anything I had ever experienced in Australia. We were the only white people in the church that Sunday, and we loved being there.

Sunday night, we went with the students at Teen Challenge to another black church in Brooklyn. I will never forget the black preacher bringing a pile of kleenexes to the pulpit with which he would wipe his brow from time to time as he preached up a storm.

Over the years, I have met black speakers and people, some of whom came to minister in Australia, like Fred Price, from California. Others I met when I ministered in countries such as Kenya in Africa. Then too, I became good friends with Myles Monroe from the Bahamas. I have to say the color of a person’s skin did not negatively affect me. I don’t think I was racist.

Then God called us to move to America; consequently, we had to learn about and adjust to a new land and culture. For example, I love sports and am an enthusiastic sports fan. Coming to America, I had to learn new sports, such as American football, which, to start with, was altogether strange. However, I have come to love football, particularly my local Minnesota Vikings.

In those days, I often asked people to explain things to me. In response to my questions, I discovered that the majority of NFL players were black, to the point that one wondered what had happened to all the white players. The one exception was quarterbacks. It seemed to me all the quarterbacks were white, so I asked why there were no black quarterbacks. Mostly, I received blank stares in response to my question. I realized later that the answer went back to college and high school football when blacks were rarely given the opportunity to be quarterbacks. Now that has changed, and in 1988, Doug Williams became the first-ever black quarterback to win a Superbowl. This year, in February of 2023, the two quarterbacks, Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes, were both black, a first for the NFL(

Dorothy and I began to do some study of black history. We were blessed to read the stories of significant black figures of courage and faith, like Harriet Tubman, who risked her own life and freedom time and time again to rescue men and women from slavery. We visited the Harriet Tubman Museum in Memphis and the auction street where slaves were bought and sold.

As a result, we realized that the history of black people in America included the dreadful way they were treated. More recently, we read of the Tulsa Riots that took place a little over 100 years ago.

I recently had a fall and broke my hip, requiring an operation and then a month in the hospital and a rehabilitation facility. Consequently, we needed to arrange for caregivers in our home, especially as my wife is on hospice. We continued this care after I came home while I recovered. The majority of the caregivers were African American women. Some were born in America, and others came from West Africa, including Liberia. Recently, a good friend Pastor Tom Fox came to visit and pray for us. During our time together, he had an encouraging word for Dorothy, “God has brought these people to you for ministry, and He will give you the words to say.” Consequently, Dorothy has shared with several caregivers, given her testimony, prayed with some of them, and often given them a copy of her book ‘Called Together.’ To all this, we have come to know and love them as they have taken care of us.


I am not in a position to make judgments regarding black history in America. All I know is that racism is not meant to be present among Christians. Paul made it clear in Galatians 3:28 (NKJV), “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

We have come a long way in the last 50 years since the time of Martin Luther King Jr., but undoubtedly we have further to go. It behooves the church to lead the way. In 2019, soon after I retired from being interim pastor of a church in Chaska, I visited many churches here in the Twin Cities, mainly Evangelicals and Pentecostals. I found almost all of them were predominately white. Now, I know that, as the old adage puts it, “birds of a feather flock together.” At the same time, I believe God would have more unity across the body of Christ, fully expressing the unity we have in Christ.


Finally, let me finish with a Super Bowl story about African American Patrick Mahomes.

Patrick Mahomes is the MVP of the winning Kansas City Chiefs. However, did you know that Mahomes is a Christian? His mother said he found his faith in middle school, where he was involved with a youth group at his church.

“Before every game, I walk on the field and I just do a prayer at the goal post,” Mahomes, now 27, said in a 2020 video for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “And I thank God for those opportunities, and I thank God for just letting me be on a stage where I can glorify Him. And I feel like the biggest thing that I pray for is that whatever happens, win or lose, that I’m glorifying Him and doing everything the way that He wants me to.” (

That prayer of Patrick Mahomes is one we can all embrace. “I pray that whatever happens. . .that I’m glorifying Him.”