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Senate Chaplain speaks at Cumberlands convocation


Chaplain Black speaks to the crowd.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. – “Give God your best.” That was the central theme of retired Rear Adm. Barry Black’s convocation message on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at University of the Cumberlands’ O. Wayne Rollins Center. Black is currently serving as the Chaplain of the United States Senate.

According to Black, one of the things Martin Luther King emphasized was “do your best.” Black, however, says, “Give God your best.”

“If you are to give God your best,” said Black, “you need to develop a sensitivity for human needs, you must overcome spiritual dullness, and you must live a life of gratitude.”

After the address, Dr. Jim Taylor, president of the university, announced that Black’s autobiography “From the Hood to the Hill” would be available at the university’s library and bookstore.

In 2003, Black was elected the 62nd Chaplain of the United States Senate. Prior to coming to Capitol Hill, he served in the U.S. Navy for over twenty-seven years, ending his distinguished career as the Chief of Navy Chaplains. In addition to opening the Senate each day in prayer, his duties include counseling and spiritual care for the Senators, their families and their staffs. Black also teaches Senate Bible study groups and encourages such groups as the weekly Senate Prayer Breakfast.

Black is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and an alumnus of Oakwood College, Andrews University, North Carolina Central University, Eastern Baptist Seminary, Salve Regina University and United States International University. In 1995 he received the NAACP Renowned Service Award for his contribution to equal opportunity and civil rights. He also received the 2002 Benjamin Elijah Mays Distinguished Leadership Award from the Morehouse School of Religion.

University of the Cumberlands, located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, is a private liberal arts college in its 118th year of operation. Cumberlands offers four undergraduate degrees in 37 major fields of study, 30 minors and nine pre-professional programs, graduate degrees and certifications in education as well as online and accelerated, nontraditional programs for adults.