Baptist Ministers and The Positive Community

25 Years of Positive Change!

Founded in 1898, the Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Greater New York and Vicinity (BMCGNY&V) is NYC’s oldest and largest clergy organization. Recently, The Positive Community’s publisher, Adrian A. Council Sr., was invited to address the group’s leadership. The new administration led by President Rev. Dr. James A. Kilgore had asked to be updated about the progress of TPC’s media company, its present challenges, and opportunities.

In his remarks, Mr. Council reminded the congregation that The Positive Community (TPC) is now in its 25th year of publishing “Good News from the Church and Community.” He went on to thank the organization for its unwavering support over the years and commitment to the “ideals of positive change.” The Positive Community was born at the historic Convent Avenue Baptist Church in Harlem, headquarters for the Baptist Ministers’ Conferences’ weekly meetings.

TPC was inspired by the visionary leadership, and the wisdom of past presidents—the late Rev. Dr. Shellie Sampson, pastor of Thessalonians BC in the Bronx; and the late Rev. Dr. Frank J. Blackshear, pastor of the Greater Zion Hill BC, Harlem. They recruited and encouraged veteran media, advertising, and community-based marketing specialists Adrian Council and Jean Nash Wells to design a media concept for outreach to the organization’s constituents.

The prototype, Positive Community News, was published as a newsletter in November of 1999. The first monthly edition of The Positive Community magazine was published in September, 2000. The BMCGNY&V became a charter advertiser, along with large Black-owned business retailers Dick Gidron Cadillac; Apel Travel; Amy Ruth’s Restaurant; Carver Federal Savings Bank in Harlem; and City National Bank of Newark, NJ (Industrial Bank).

Beacon of Light

In summary Council stated: Now, more than ever, individually and collectively, we must carefully weigh in the balance the media sources targeting our communities in terms of assets or liabilities to progress. TPC, an indigenous, African American- owned media company, is the standard measure for cultural integrity and social responsibility. Support the NY Amsterdam News, NY Beacon, Carib News, Daily Challenge, Harlem News, Our Time Press, NY Christian Times, Westchester County Press, and NJ Urban News. Our publication is a proud member of the Black Press, a 200-year-old American institution. Traditionally, our community’s media institutions are held to a higher standard of accountability and trust. We appeal for the people’s advocacy in support of our cause.

Advertising revenues are the lifeblood of the media business. Ideally, the large businesses, corporations, and institutions we the people support with our consumer dollars would be happy to demonstrate their commitment to progress and positive change by advertising in these community-owned media institutions. It’s a wise business decision.

‘By their fruits you shall know them’ and ‘Let your light so shine…’ are the words proclaimed by the Son of Man, Jesus of Nazareth,” Conference President Rev. James Kilgore added. “For 25 years The Positive Community has been a beacon of light illuminating the pathways forward, bearing forth good fruit at such a time as this! There is always something in this magazine that would bring a smile to your face. May God continue to bless the ministry of Bro. Council and Sis. Jean Wells. Thank you for preserving and building upon the legacy of our beloved leaders, Reverends Sampson and Blackshear. We stand 100% behind our media company of choice; the people’s choice, The Positive Community!”

Rich History; Promising Future

For 126 years, the Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Greater NY and Vicinity has had in its membership ranks a most distinguished list of those who stood on the front lines of civil rights and social justice movements in America. Names like Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Sr., Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Reverends Wyatt T. Walker, Garner Taylor, William Augustus Jones, Charles Kenyatta, Timothy Mitchell, John Scott, Calvin O. Butts III, Bishop Johnny Ray Youngblood, W. Franklyn Richardson, Carl L. Washington Jr., former US Ambassador Suzan Johnson-Cook, Calvin McKinney, Johnie McCann, Reginald Williams, and Johnnie Green to name only a few.

Whenever Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came to NYC, he would almost always make room in his schedule to meet and fellowship with his colleagues at the Conference. Harlem pastor Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker was Dr. King’s chief of staff for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

Subsequent to Adrian Council’s visit, the BMCNY&V voted on and passed a resolution to make Monday, September 30th and every fourth Monday in September, “The Positive Community Day” at The Baptist Ministers’ Conference. Everyone is invited to join a special worship service at Convent Avenue Baptist Church, launching a year-long celebration of TPC’s 25th anniversary—a historic, milestone achievement!