The Ministerial Alliance – News Archive

Ministerial Alliance to Conduct Good Friday Service

Please join the Ministerial Alliance of Springfield and others in the community on Friday, March 29, 2013 at Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, 2208 East Kansas at 12:00 Noonas they reflect upon the magnitude of Christ’s enormous sacrifice on the Cross.

Area Pastors who will be leading reflections and participating in the service include, Pastor Marcellus Leonard, Heritage Free Will Baptist Church; Reverend Howard Peters, Fresh Visions Community Church; Reverend Ophilis McCoy, Kumler United Methodist Church; Reverened Sam Winger, Serving Jesus Willingly Urban Ministries; Pastor Silas Johnson, Calvary Baptist Church, Pastor Charles Jackson, St. John’s AME Church and Pastor Roy Newman, President of the Alliance and Pastor at Fresh Visions Community Church.

Musical selections will be provided by participating churches. A freewill offering will be taken and used exclusively to support the charitable, educational and social ministries of the Alliance.

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Pastor calls for people to ‘realize the vision’ of King

By JASON NEVEL, The State Journal-Register
Posted Jan 20, 2013
The Rev. Katrina Jenkins challenged audience members Sunday to “realize the vision” Martin Luther King Jr. offered more than 40 years ago. Jenkins was the guest speaker at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day service, sponsored by The Ministerial Alliance of Springfield and Vicinity. About 100 people attended the ceremony at Monroe Street Christian Church, 1229 E. Monroe St.

Jenkins, chaplain at Illinois College in Jacksonville, told the Biblical story of Simeon as detailed in the Book of Luke. Simeon, described in the Bible as “righteous and devout,” was visited by the Holy Spirit and told he would not die before seeing the Lord Christ. Despite knowing it could cost him his life, Jenkins said King persevered. He organized bus boycotts, spoke out against injustice and inspired Americans through peaceful protests. “I’m sure (King) might have said, ‘Lord, I didn’t sign up for this,’ but he kept on going and realized the vision,” Jenkins said. “We need to realize the vision ourselves.”

Today, Jenkins said some of the equal-rights issues King fought for still exist. It’s important for people to not get comfortable and be willing to stand up for what is right, Jenkins said. “We all have a great responsibility to get off our behinds and do what we need to do,” Jenkins said.
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Ministerial Alliance unites congregations

By JASON NEVEL, The State Journal-Register
Posted Nov 18, 2012
The Ministerial Alliance of Springfield and Vicinity on Sunday continued its long tradition of bringing people together for a Thanksgiving service. More than 100 people gathered at Zion Missionary Baptist Church, 1601 E. Laurel St., for the service, which has been held around Thanksgiving for more than 30 years.

The event, which was free and open to the public, included music by United Methodist Church Mass Choir, scripture readings and an offering to support the Ministerial Alliance’s college scholarship fund. Robert Freeman, senior pastor of Grace and Kumler United Methodist churches, delivered the Thanksgiving message.

Pastor Samuel Hale Jr. of Zion Missionary Baptist Church said he’s been involved in the service for the past 28 years. He said it’s a good way to bring people together to celebrate and thank God for the blessings people have. “It’s a citywide effort for us to try and get the Springfield community to come together and express thanks to Lord as a collective entity,” Hale said.

The Ministerial Alliance of Springfield and Vicinity is an organization of pastors, ministers and laypeople from the Springfield area that helps local congregations work together. The alliance consists of about 25 congregations. Pastor Roy Newman of Fresh Visions Community Church said the alliance formed in the 1960s. In the beginning, it was primarily made up of African-Americans, but it has diversified over the years, Newman said. The Thanksgiving service is one of the primary events sponsored by the alliance each year, he said. “We’re interested in collectively bettering our community by coming together,” Newman said. “We feel that we have so much to be thankful for and celebrate.”
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Voter Registration Drive

The Ministerial Alliance held a non-paritsan voter registration drive on Monday, Oct. 8 at Wal-Mart on Sixth Street. Minister Gary T. Pierce, social/political chairman of the Ministerial Alliance, organized volunteers for the event.

‘Before You Say Goodbye…’ A Funeral Preparation Conference, Sponsored by the Ministerial Alliance

By TAMARA BROWNING, The State Journal-Register
Posted Apr 14, 2012
The Rev. Samuel Hale Jr.’s personal experiences with death help him help others. “I’ve been responsible for helping to bury my mother, my father, my stepmother, my mother-in-law, my father-in-law, uncle and aunt on my wife’s side, a number of family members, as well as my son,” said Hale, pastor of Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Springfield. Hale, who’s written a book, “When Your Loved One Dies,” said he’s able to help others deal with death, in part because he understands “what death is all about.” “I realize and understand and believe that it’s a transition phase from this world to the afterlife, to one’s eternal life setting — either in heaven or ultimately in hell. That is my biblical conviction,” Hale said. “Everybody’s got to die… If that’s the reality of life, then it behooves me to get ready for whatever that death experience is going to involve.”

To help families deal with issues involving the death of a loved one, Hale is coordinating a free funeral preparation conference, “Before You Say Goodbye…,” from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 28, at Monroe Street Christian Church, 1229 E. Monroe St.

For everyone

Hale said the conference isn’t just for religious people. “We’re not approaching it from a ‘church, religious’ perspective per se,” Hale said. “Whether you’re an atheist or a born-again Christian, you’ve got to deal with the funeral home, with disposing of the body, the cost factors of that, relationships with other family members, consequent to that, the in-laws, etc…You’ve got a number of issues that a person will have to address, regardless of their religious persuasion, regardless of their ethnic background.”

Hale said he suggested the funeral preparation conference to the Ministerial Alliance of Springfield & Vicinity because many people aren’t comfortable when dealing with a loved one’s death. The conference’s workshops will help people understand what to address when a loved one dies, Hale said.

Meaningful workshops

Mary Jo Wasser of the St. John’s Hospital Spiritual Care department will be the facilitator of a workshop that will discuss what family members should expect when someone is close to death. “One of the things that nurses are very sensitive to is changes in a patient’s respiration and the circulation that affects their skin. Certainly, the nurse will want to communicate with the family those kinds of changes that she or he may notice,” said Wasser, who is a nurse.


  • “Hospital/Nursing Home Staff Communications,” facilitator Mary Jo Wasser, St. John’s Hospital Spiritual Care department
  • “Funeral Home Expectations,” facilitator P.J. Staab, Staab Funeral Home
  • “Understanding Cremations,” facilitator Dan Parriott, Butler Funeral Homes
  • “Organ Donations,” facilitator Brett Kesselring, Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network
  • “Grief Counseling,” facilitator, Dee Stearns, St. John’s Hospital
  • ”Contacting Family and Friends,” facilitator Elizabeth Alexander, Zion Missionary Baptist Church
  • “Pastor & Church Funeral Arrangements,” facilitator Thomas Walker, Walker Funeral Services
  • “Finding Closure,” facilitator Greg Stafford, Memorial Medical Center Pastoral Care Department
  • “Hospice Care,” facilitator Don Wood, St. John’s Hospital
  • “Collecting Personal Documents,” facilitator Archie Lawrence, retired attorney
  • ”Establishing Wills and Final Directives,” facilitator Ted Lewis, retired judge
  • ”Pre-Need Programs & Burial Insurance,” facilitator David Harshaw, Bisch Funeral Home
  • ”Restructuring Your Finances & Tax Arrangements,” facilitator the Rev. James Johnson, Monroe Street Christian Church

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Good Friday Service, ‘The Last Seven Words of Christ’

By STEVEN SPEARIE, The State Journal-Register
Posted Apr 04, 2012
Clergy from the Ministerial Alliance of Springfield and Vicinity will reflect on the Seven Last Words of Christ* and also invite discussion on timely matters such as race relations and immigration reform.

Nicholas Stojakovich, who is on the public relations committee of the Ministerial Alliance, said he expects some of the seven ministers who are preaching at the service at St. John’s AME Church in Springfield to address race relations and the Trayvon Martin killing in Florida. “It’s certainly an opportunity to look at ourselves and encourage people for a time as they apply words to their lives, the need for forgiveness and healing and for the wider community as well,” said Stojakovich, a representative of Hope Presbyterian Church. “Although I don’t know exactly what they’re going to say, they know it’s important to apply Gospel values to what’s happening in the community.”

Stojakovich noted that the Ministerial Alliance was formed in the 1960s to engage in the civil rights struggle, and its members were more recently involved in the Year of Reconciliation, marking the centennial of the 1908 Race Riot in Springfield.

The Rev. Roy Newman, senior pastor of Fresh Visions Community Church and one of the service’s preachers, said Good Friday offers a redemption for all people. “We’ve all fallen short, we’ve all missed the mark, but we can look to the ultimate sacrifice given by Jesus Christ,” said Newman. “We all have sin we deal with, yet we can all ask for forgiveness.” Stojakovich said the Ministerial Alliance’s service is an attempt to recapture a sense of the sacred. “We tend to treat Good Friday as another day off or another work day,” he said. “Hopefully, this will mean something to people. “If your faith matters, this is the cornerstone. To lightly treat Good Friday is a sign of how we’ve drifted from the solemnity of sacredness.”

*Seven last words and themes

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they’re doing” (forgiveness); “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise” (salvation); “Dear woman, here is your son” (relationship); “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?” (abandonment); “I am thirsty” (distress); “It is finished” (triumph); “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands” (reunion)

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Year of Reconciliation

The State Journal-Register Letter to the Editor – Aug. 8, 2008

2008 Declared “The Year of Reconciliation by the Ministerial Alliance” PDF 880kb

Abraham Lincoln Washington to Address Solemn Assembly

For Immediate Release
July 18, 2008

Dr. W.G. Robinson-McNeese

Abraham Lincoln Washington to Address Solemn Assembly
SPRINGFIELD- Abraham Lincoln Washington, Pastor of Rock of Our Salvation Evangelical Free Church located on Chicago’s west side, will address the 8th and Final Solemn Assembly in the “2008 Springfield Year of Reconciliation.” The assembly will be held on Saturday, August 2, 2008 from 11:00 a.m. until Noon at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception downtown Springfield. A march to the 1908 Race Riot Marker at the Old State Capitol will immediately follow where prayers focused on the theme of Justice & Mercy will be offered.

“We welcome Pastor Washington to Springfield and look forward to his participation in this spiritual and historical event,” said Sister Mary Jean Traeger, of St. Katherine Drexel Parish and a member of the Ministerial Alliance.

Rock Church was founded in 1983 by Washington’s older brother Raleigh Washington and from the beginning has blazed a trail in the area of racial reconciliation. Located in one of the largest and poorest areas of Chicago, Rock Church forged a partnership with Glen Kehrein, Executive Director of Circle Urban Ministries and together they have offered a holistic approach to ministry addressing both the physical and spiritual needs of the community for over two decades. Racial reconciliation has always been an important part of this relationship as both ministries have sought not only to talk about reconciliation but to actively live it out in a community affected by racial strife. In 1998 Abraham Lincoln Washington became Pastor of Rock Church and the two ministries were joined. More information about their dynamic ministry can be found by visiting

Seven previous Solemn Assemblies have been held on the first Saturday of each month since January in the “2008 Springfield Year of Reconciliation”

“God has blessed our prayer efforts over the past months and I sense He has forgiven our sin and is beginning to heal the land. May His name be glorified” said Dr. W.G. Robinson-McNeese, President of the Ministerial Alliance of Springfield.

Designated prayer leaders from Springfield’s faith community will participate in this final assembly. Some of the leaders are Bishop George Lucas, Rev. T. Ray McJunkins, Sister Katherine O’Conner, Leroy Jordan and Pastor Steve Seiple

Mayor Tim Davlin, Chief of Police Ralph Caldwell, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Walter Milton, Jr. and other City Officials have been invited to attend.