Ashford & Valerie Simpson (c) recently joined Rev. Dr. Calvin O.
Butts, III (r) at The Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem to give the
debut performance of their original theme song, "Be Blessed"
to commemorate Abyssinian's 200th anniversary. The singing duo
unveiled the song at Abyssinian's 199th anniversary worship service,
where Rev. Dr. James Perkins (l) of the Greater Christ Baptist Church
in Detroit served as the guest pastor.
celebration, "Abyssinian 200: True to
Our God, True to Our Native Land,"
continues throughout 2008 with a series of community events and
initiatives including a collaboration with Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at
Lincoln Center, a book with contributions by Drs. Maya Angelou and
Cornel West, an exhibition at the Schomburg Center for Research in
Black Culture, a white-tie dignitary gala, and a partnership with
StoryCorps (the national oral-history project in partnership with the
Library of Congress).
reported in Snippets,
Abyssinian embarked on a two-week pilgrimage to Ethiopia - Abyssinian's
native land - in September. During the pilgrimage, Rev. Butts and
group met with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, President Girma
Wolde-Giorgis, His Holiness Abune Paulos, and several ministers of the
Ethiopian government to obtain information and explore opportunities
for Abyssinian to translate its development models and consider a
viable course of action to support the people and progress of
Note: Blacks from the United States and Ethiopia founded the
church. “True to Our God, True to Our Native Land,” is a line
from the National
Black Anthem written by James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond
Johnson of Jacksonville, FL.