Washington DC – The National Black Church Initiative, a coalition of 34,000 churches representing 15.7 million African American is asking the honorable Pastor Emeritus Jasper Williams to graciously apologize to the Franklin family and the Black Church so that the enemies of Christ Church does not have a weapon to crucify the entire Church for this one mistake.

The Rev. Anthony Evans said, “This request for an apology in no way should be construed as a rebuke of the Christian character of Pastor Emeritus Jasper Williams.  He simply made a misjudgment pertaining to the tone, the message and the audience that awaited a Word from the Lord– to shine a light in a dark world that is increasingly growing darker.  The National Black church Initiative wanted to make it clear that that sermon was not in the best tradition of the Black Church in general and the richness of the Black Church burial traditions and beliefs.  We still love our brother Jasper Williams and we wish him well in his retirement.

The African American rich and lasting burial beliefs and traditions are at stake.  This is why we are compelled to step in this heated environment to bring some moral clarity for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  To put simply, the sermon delivered even though effective to many but it was inappropriate to a listening and viewing global audience and especially the family.  The sermon was not a eulogy of our sister Aretha Franklin in the richest sense of the Black Church.  It completely missed the mark!

The National Black Church Initiative August 16th press release on the day of Aretha Franklin’s death should have been the guide to crafting a rich message of our dearest Queen of Soul – Aretha Franklin to a global community who were listening for a Word from the Lord.

We stated “When a star dies of this magnitude, who did not have any relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, the sermon delivered would be unnoticeable, unnotable and void of any God language to connect that particular star to God. The preacher would be searching for words to comfort the family. Praise be to God that this will not be the case of the lifetime and the spirit of Aretha Franklin. Not only did she know the Lord she loved the Lord. And not only did she love the Lord she sung the Lord’s songs. Whoever preaches at this funeral will have so much material to pull from that it will be overwhelming for one soul to come up with a simple Word that the world needs to hear about the soul of the Queen of Soul.”

She also was a preacher’s child of the likes of Rev. C.L Franklin who was one of Martin Luther King’s closest confidants. Martin King, when visiting Rev. Franklin’s Church would especially ask, if Aretha could sing just before he preached. Aretha loved Martin. When Martin died, everybody in the Black community knew that Aretha would represent us by singing Martin’s favorite song Precious Lord. For many whites, this was the first time they had heard that golden voice that God gave her. A voice that we may never hear again.

About NBCI

The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) is a coalition of 34,000 African American and Latino Churches working to eradicate racial disparities in healthcare, technology, education, housing, and the environment. NBCI’s mission is to provide critical wellness information to all of its members, congregants, Churches and the public. Our methodology is utilizing faith and sound health science.

NBCI’s purpose is to partner with major organizations and officials whose main mission is to reduce racial disparities in the variety of areas cited above. NBCI offers faith-based, out-of-the-box and cutting-edge solutions to stubborn economic and social issues. NBCI’s programs are governed by credible statistical analysis, science-based strategies and techniques, and methods that work. Visit our website at www.naltBlackChurch.com.