The Rev. Dr. Eugene Callender, an African American Pioneer in the CRC


Over the last few weeks I've been organizing my files of ministry-related documents and I came across two articles written about the late Rev. Dr. Eugene Callender, whom I will never forget because he is unforgettable!

Rev. Dr. Eugene Callender left a lasting legacy of evangelism, preaching the gospel, social justice, giving hope to young people, and imparting wisdom to African American pastors and congregational leaders in the CRC. Frankly speaking, I'm able to serve in the CRC because of those that came before me, like Dr. Callender.  

He was a scholarly, contemporary preacher; and also an extraordinary writer, leader, and speaker.  

I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Callender in 2001, sixteen years ago, along with other CRC pastors and leaders. Some of us had meaningful conversations with him over the years before he went to be with the Lord in 2013. He always had something encouraging to say about how God uses us for His purposes. Sometimes we don't fully understand why He does what He does, but we can always trust Him.

After a difficult departure from the CRC, years later he said it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. He had encouraging words to say about our denomination.

He accepted an invitation to come back to the CRC in the pulpit of Immanuel Church of Kalamazoo in 2001. There were lots of visitors including parents and students from Kalamazoo Christian High School. He challenged us "to embrace and include people of all races, and to work for justice." These words meant something to him; they expressed his lifelong work!

May our lifelong work for God's kingdom be to reach out to all people with the gospel of Jesus Christ and to work for justice wherever He calls us to serve.

If you want to know more about Dr. Callender's life and ministry, please see the attached article from The Banner and a link to a New York Times article.

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At Inspire 2017 Richard Mouw made reference to a quote from Lewis B. Smedes.  Whenever I hear Lewis Smedes' name, it reminds me of a time shortly after the above Banner article was written and he contacted me for two reasons:  to ask how his longtime friend Eugene Callendar was doing and for his phone# and also to encourage me as an African American woman pastor serving in the CRC. I graciously received his call, and am grateful that he took time to bless me!  I remember some of his words, but most of all I remember how he made me feel!