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Chapel Speaker Makes Black History Month Personal

By Amanda Morad | February 25, 2013

Rev. Ella Thompson shares her story of finding commonalities with others during Regent's weekly chapel service.

As Black History Month comes to a close, celebrations will end, conversations will change, and many people will turn their attention to other topics. But for Rev. Ella Thompson, Regent University School of Divinity's director of Enrollment Services, the conversation won't change when February is over.

"This isn't just history, this is my story," she said at Regent's weekly chapel service Wednesday, Feb. 20. Thompson gave the celebration of Black History Month a personal touch by relating her family history and experiences. Her great-great-grandfather was once purchased off the street, and her great-great-great-aunt was a slave used to breed children for work.

"Throughout my career, I've been called to lead people who didn't understand a black woman in leadership," she said. "But my identity is found in the freedom of the cross—Christian freedom is the freedom to glorify God in all that we do, no matter who we are."

Thompson also encouraged chapel-goers to keep the conversation about civil rights going. "Those who do not know history are destined to repeat it. Unfortunately, we have, in many ways," she said. "Human trafficking is the third largest enterprise in the world. Slavery is still very much a part of our present day."

Thompson put the onus on Christians to be the light in darkness. "God has chosen us to be His representatives in all things," she said. "As Christians, we share a common calling to bring freedom to those who don't have it."

Reaching past differences to find commonality, Thompson explained, is a major step required to achieve unity. "I'm always amazed how much I can find in common with people who are completely different than me," she said, encouraging students to foster these types of interactions. "There are always points of intersection."

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