(Reuters/Keith Bedford)

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As part of Black History Month, the Church of God is putting a special emphasis on African-American ministries.

The Church of God has designated Feb. 12 as “Church of God Black Ministries Awareness Sunday.” The event marks the first time Church of God officials have put a denomination-wide emphasis on the history and legacy of African-American ministries.

“Since August 1886, the Church of God has celebrated 125 years of ministry overcoming many obstacles and accomplishing great opportunities for ministry,” says Dr. Ken Hill, coordinator of Black Ministries for the Church of God. “The ministry of the church has been to take the gospel around the world and today, we celebrate a worldwide membership of over 7 million with a presence in over 160 countries.”

Hill says African-Americans have made great strides to share their talents within the Church of God. He pointed to several examples, including Edmond and Rebecca Barr, who began the legacy of African-Americans within the church in the early 1900s. The Barrs were the first Church of God missionaries to take the gospel from Florida to the Bahamas.

Hill went on to explain that African-Americans have also proven their leadership skills of organizing churches as early as 1909, serving as national overseers, administrative bishops, organizing and building schools of education, and much more.

“Since the beginning of the church at Barney Creek, many different nationalities have made great contributions to the church that has allowed the ministry to have done so much for so many,” Hill says.

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