Building Beloved Communities: The Life and Work of Rev. Dr. Paul Smith (Hardcover)

Building Beloved Communities: The Life and Work of Rev. Dr. Paul Smith By Hildi Hendrickson Cover Image

Building Beloved Communities: The Life and Work of Rev. Dr. Paul Smith (Hardcover)


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Building Beloved Communities traces the life of Rev. Dr. Paul Smith (b. 1935), an iconoclastic black minister who has channeled his civil rights work into establishing multi-racial churches in four cities--Buffalo, NY; Atlanta, GA; St. Louis, MO; Brooklyn, NY--over a six-decade career. Following the lead of his mentor, Dr. Howard Thurman (who was also a key influence on Martin Luther King Jr.), Smith has concentrated on building thriving multicultural congregations to create the sorts of communities envisioned by King and others.
In 1979, he became the first black minister of all-white Hillside Presbyterian Church in Decatur, Georgia, making him a unique leader among the 4,000 Presbyterian congregations in the United States. In 1986, he was elected the first African American pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn Heights, New York. Throughout his ministry in various churches, he has consciously moved his congregations toward being explicitly multi-cultural and multi-racial, as well as more politically active and welcoming of LGBTQ communities.

Hendrickson examines his pastoral care and his increased work with corporations, colleges, and charitable foundations. Building Beloved Communities details the complicated life of a man dedicated to serving as a bridge between Christianity, community activism, public health institutions, and the business world.
Based on archival research, historical analysis, and original interviews with Smith and his colleagues, Hildi Hendrickson offers a critical biography of the preacher and his work from the 1960s to the present.
HILDI HENDRICKSON is a recently-retired associate professor of anthropology at Long Island University. She is the editor of Clothing and Difference: Embodied Identities in Colonial and Post-Colonial Africa.
Product Details ISBN: 9780820359618
ISBN-10: 0820359610
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Publication Date: August 1st, 2021
Pages: 296
Language: English