Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) February 19, 2014
February is the month when this nation celebrates the history of Black America, and what better way to celebrate than with the legacy of the Black Church and gospel music. The 20th Annual Gospel Heritage Praise & Worship Conference returns to Atlanta, February 20-22, 2014, for a three-day gathering of thousands. The entire event will be held at the Changing A Generation Full Gospel Baptist Church, where the host pastor is Bishop Paul S. Morton, Sr. “Those who participate in Gospel Heritage will witness a plethora of culturally enriching community and church celebrations to help the masses gain a deeper understand of the phenomenal contributions made by African Americans,” says Dr. Teresa Hairston, creator of the Gospel Heritage movement.
From “Precious Lord” to “Oh Happy Day” and beyond, Gospel music has been a staple of American culture. Over the eight decades since Thomas A. Dorsey’s “gospels” were sold on sheets of paper for a nickel each to today’s billion-dollar-a-year Gospel industry, Gospel has spilled out from the boundaries of the church into the mainstream. “But there’s new news on the Gospel horizon,” says Dr. Hairston and the Gospel Heritage Foundation.
After calling together Gospel artists, songwriters, musicians and pastors to celebrate the Gospel heritage and perpetuate its legacy for the past 19 years, Dr. Hairston is declaring that it’s time for change. Hairston, 57, is the founder and president of the Gospel Heritage Foundation. She is a leader, trailblazer and trendsetter in the Gospel idiom. In 1989, she founded Gospel Today, a magazine that became the most widely distributed publication in the history of the Gospel genre. She has hosted and produced Gospel celebrations at the White House and across the world.
“The culture has changed and it’s time for the Church to change as well!” says Hairston. In 2014, Hairston is leading an initiative to champion a philosophy that moves beyond Gospel music, embracing “worship”. She declares, “Worship is a lifestyle, not just a musical style.”
Here’s what that means. First, she says, “Our next generation is a priority. We’ve got to reach out to our young adults and get them excited, involved and immersed in the worship culture of inspiration and empowerment, because it really is a life-inspiring culture!”
It appears that many churches have retreated behind their four walls and are no longer active participants in their communities. Media outlets report unprecedented violence, depression and homelessness among teens. Educators report that college students and young adults are being left behind. On Thursday, Feb 20, Gospel Heritage will sponsor a “Night of Unity” concert featuring colleges and young people! Already confirmed are Gospel Choirs from Columbia, SC, Georgia State and Tennessee State.
Secondly, declared Hairston, “Worship is the answer to racism. Worship breaks racial and denominational barriers. We are continuing to reach out and invite every nationality to join in with this worship celebration.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously declared at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, in 1968 during his last Sunday sermon before he was assassinated, “We must face the sad fact that at 11 o’clock on Sunday morning when we stand to sing ‘In Christ there is no East or West,’ we stand in the most segregated hour of America.” Gospel Heritage is facing that fact! Other nationalities, including people from other countries will be part of this global celebration.
Gospel Heritage’s goal is to “transform nations and generations through worship.” At the February 20-22 event, Hairston will host several presenters who echo this new movement that is changing the Church’s worship culture.
Among the presenters will be: Bishop Paul S. Morton, Sr. (host, pastor of Changing A Generation Church and 2014 Grammy Award nominee); Dr. Creflo A. Dollar (keynote speaker, pastor of World Changers Ministries, Atlanta, GA); and Dr. Van Moody (keynote speaker, pastor of The Worship Center, Birmingham, AL). Rounding out the keynote speaker line-up are pioneers, Dr. Jackie McCullough (New York), Dr. Todd Hall (Florida), Bishop Timothy Clark (Ohio) and Dr. Hart Ramsey (Alabama).
The Gospel Heritage Conference is noted for incredible top-flight Gospel music celebrations. This year’s conference will host Grammy and Stellar-Award winning artists: Earnest Pugh (Rain on Us and I Need Your Glory), Vashawn Mitchell (Nobody Greater), William McDowell (I Give Myself Away), Judy McAllister (In His Presence), Richard Smallwood (Total Praise and I Love The Lord), Kurt Carr (For Every Mountain), and Hezekiah Walker (I Need You to Survive, Grateful, and What a Mighty God We Serve).
Gospel Heritage offers a strong educational component (supervised by Dr. John Guns, Jacksonville, FL) which attracts thousands of pastors and creative arts leaders each year. Daytime sessions are open to registrants, while nighttime events are open to the public. This year, on Friday, February 21, a special late-night Worship Concert will celebrate the organization’s 20th anniversary. This will be a ticketed event.
For more information/schedule: gospelheritage(at)aol(dot)com or gospelheritage.org or call 770.866.2427.