The Ministerial Alliance – Our History

The Ministerial Alliance of Springfield and Vicinity (Alliance) is an organization of pastors, ministers and laypeople who meet regularly for fellowship, encouragement and promotion of ideas to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Although the Alliance has emphasized the preaching of God’s Word and the religious education of its members since its founding, the beginnings of the organization are intimately tied to the Civil Rights era in Illinois.

Founded in the early 1960s by Pastors Theodore Rose, J. Alfred Wilson, Henry F. Blakely and Rudolph Schultz, the Alliance was active in numerous issues involving social and civil justice for Blacks and is noted for promoting the transition from Ward Directors to the Aldermanic system of government for the City of Springfield, and for urging the racial integration of city departments and district schools at all levels.

The hiring of the first ever Black school principal in Springfield, and the election of the first Black Springfield City Alderman, were due in large part to a consortium of organizations led by the Ministerial Alliance and the NAACP. An Alternative Education Program, a Student Summer Employment Program known as the Phoenix Project, and a Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Contest were products of Alliance efforts.

Originally an organization of male pastors, prominent leading churches during the formative years of the group were: Zion Baptist, Union Baptist, Pleasant Grove Baptist and All Nations Tabernacle. The Alliance has since welcomed associate ministers, female clergy and lay ministers to its ranks.

Over the years numerous leaders of the city and members of the community have aligned themselves with the Alliance because of its dedication to Christian and civic causes, and in 2008 the group was one of the leading organizations responsible for the city’s Year of Reconciliation, acknowledging the Springfield Illinois Race Riot of 1908, but using the history of that event to foster racial reconciliation, especially among Christian groups within Springfield.

Under the leadership of Rev. Silas Johnson, the Alliance was approved as a formal not-for-profit organization promoting charitable, religious, educational and social service purposes. Its leaders move into a 5th decade of service with bright hopes for the future, earnestly awaiting the coming of our Lord.

Past presidents of the Alliance include:

(in alphabetical order)

  • Rev. J. Solomon Benn
  • Rev. Henry F. Blakely
  • Bishop Samuel J. Carter
  • Rev. Samuel W. Hale, Jr.
  • Rev. Sammie Hooks
  • Rev. Silas Johnson
  • Rev. John Lambert
  • Rev. Richard Maye
  • Rev. Donald L. Mayes
  • Rev. Ophilis McCoy
  • Rev. Negil L. McPherson, Sr.
  • Rev. Farries Morrison, Jr.
  • Rev. Roy Newman
  • Rev. W.G. Robinson-McNeese
  • Rev. Theodore Rose
  • Rev. Charles Sanford
  • Rev. Shaughneysy Small
  • Rev. Glen VanderKloot

Those interested in joining the organization or otherwise supporting its initiatives, should attend one of its monthly meetings; and/or contact any member of the group.