One of the things that happens in many organizations is a group will engage a topic like bringing in an outside speaker or read a book, but when the board at Bishop Anderson House engaged social responsibility and racial justice they had an action step: hiring a community-based chaplain to facilitate relationship and community building through the provision of spiritual, emotional, physical and social support to families, business, corporations, schools and groups in the near West side of Chicago.
I am pleased to announce that after a search process involving 15 applicants, three phone interviews, and two face-to-face interviews, we have called The Rev. Dr. Ebony Only to be our first Community-Chaplain Fellow. I had the great joy of getting to know Ebony firsthand four years ago in the Community-Based Clinical Pastoral Education Program we do in partnership with Rush University Medical Center. Ebony brings over 20 years’ experience working in Human Resources. While in the community-based unit, Ebony was the Executive Director for Human Resources and Pastor to Lay Staff at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. She holds a Doctor of Ministry from Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University in Richmond, VA which focused on supporting solo pastors in churches by putting systems in place for lay people to take up leadership and share some of the pastoral care responsibilities. Rev. Dr. Ebony is ordained in the Progressive National Baptist Convention and her heart and passion for social justice flow out of her being. When I had the honor and privilege of working with her in the community-based unit, I dreamed of us someday being able to work together. When Rev. Ebony came for the interview with the staff, it felt like that dream was becoming a reality. Ebony’s first day at Bishop Anderson House will be September 1, 2021.
“As healers and caregivers, it is our duty to acknowledge, in the words of Bishop Anderson, ‘where institutions of humanity are falling short’, and to be the agents of transformation and change that promote equity and wholeness. We have been called for such a time as this and my prayer is that you will join me in this work.”