Black Church Traditions Related to Land, Food, and Racial Agency

January 11–15, 2021 | Black Church Traditions Related to Land, Food, and Racial Agency

Black church traditions wide

The lack of racial diversity in some of the most widely known environmental movements often reveals glaring blind spots that frustrate sustainable progress on issues such as food security, conservation, and climate change. The "green ceiling" — as it's called — can not only be found in White-led environmental organizations but in ecclesial and academic circles as well. As a result, we are often left ignorant, for example, about the robust legacies of African Americans and the Black church as it relates to land, food, and agricultural resistance to oppression. Through this lens, we will study people of faith such as Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, Rev. Vernon Johns, Elijah Muhammad, and more. We will center experiences found within various African American religious communities that engaged in land and food sovereignty projects as expressions of both their spiritual life and socio-political desires.

This online course will meet Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EST and will include group sessions.

Course Leader

Heber brown

Community organizer, social entrepreneur, base builder, and network weaver are all words that describe the work and expertise of Rev. Dr. Heber Brown, III, senior pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. For nearly two decades, Brown has been a catalyst for personal transformation and social change. In 2015 he launched the Black Church Food Security Network (BCFSN), a multistate alliance of congregations working together to inspire health, wealth, and power in the Black community. The BCFSN accomplishes this by partnering with historically African American churches to establish gardens on church-owned land and cultivates partnerships with African American farmers to create a grassroots, community-led food system.

Brown's dedication to service has been widely recognized. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Ella Baker Freedom Fighter Award and The Afro American Newspaper’s “25 Under 40 Emerging Black History Leaders” award. In 2011, Urbanite Magazine identified him as one of the “Change Makers of Baltimore City." In 2013, he received a $10,000 Fellowship Award from The Beatitudes Society, which identified him as one of eight leading young progressive faith leaders in the country. In 2016, Grist.Org named him among innovators, organizers, and visionaries as one of "The 50 People You'll Be Talking About This Year." In 2018, Baltimore Magazine named him a Visionary of the City and the Baltimore City Office of Civil Rights presented him with their Food Justice Award. In 2019, he received the coveted Emerging Leaders Award from the Claneil Foundation which brought with it a $250,000 investment in the work of the Black Church Food Security Network.

​He earned his BS degree in psychology from Morgan State University, a Master of Divinity degree from Virginia Union University, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Wesley Theological Seminary.

Tentative Schedule

Monday – Friday
9 amnoon

9 a.m. | Gathering

9:30 a.m. | Main Presentation

10:30 a.m. | Break

10:45 a.m. | Small Group Discussions

11:15 a.m. | Report Backs

11:45 a.m. | Closing Thoughts/Assignments

12 p.m. | Dismissal

Daily Focus

Monday: Introduction to Course

Tuesday: Father Divine and The Peace Movement

Wednesday: Rev. Vernon Johns

Thursday: Rev. Albert Cleage, Jr. and the Black Christian Nationalism

Friday: Current Models/Close


The fee for the course is $125 per person.

Registration closes on January 4, 2021.

Register Now

Educating faithful Christian leaders.

Author, Speaker, Ordained Minister

Danielle Shroyer, Class of 1999

“To be in a community where I got to hear so many different perspectives—that was profound for me. I’m grateful for the curiosity, for the practice of learning that was cultivated for me at Seminary.”