Orangeburg Pastor Todd Brown Delivers Inspiring Message at Prayer Breakfast

Oct 04, 2016

The Rev. Todd A. Brown referenced UNCF’s nationally-recognized slogan and compared it to a message by The Apostle Paul in his remarks at Claflin’s 16th Annual UNCF Community Prayer Breakfast. The event was held Saturday in Tullis Arena at the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Physical Education Building.

"In the Book of Romans, Paul urged Christians not to conform to the world but seek transformation by renewing their minds,” said Brown, pastor of  New Mount Zion Baptist Church in Orangeburg, S.C. "A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but it's a wonderful thing to invest in.  Many of us need to renew our minds and change our way of thinking.  We have to get our minds right to be good servants and realize it's not what you get out of life that counts, but what you give that matters."

The Annual UNCF Community Prayer Breakfast is part of the University's campaign to raise $60,000 to support student scholarships.  The campaign, in which continues through November 2016, has raised more than $24,000 towards its goal.  Claflin is one of 39 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) affiliated with UNCF. 

Brown previously served as pastor at First Baptist Church of Chesterbrook in McLean, Va. He is a founding member and former education coordinator for the Northern Virginia Clergy Council for the prevention of HIV and AIDS. Brown also served as director of education for the Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry and community health specialist with the Fairfax County Health Department.  He earned his bachelor's degree at Johnson C. Smith University and his master's from Howard University.

"We have the same problem Paul had in Rome," said Brown.  "It's not Christians but African Americans who are being told we don't count.  We see too many negative images about ourselves.  We are being told we are on drugs; we have more health problems and the highest dropout rates. And 'Blue on Black Crime' is trying to convince African Americans our lives don't have any value."

However, Brown pointed out that accomplishments of UNCF and HBCUs contradict reports often heard from media and politicians.  According to Brown, they only highlight the problems not the success stories in the African American communities.

"UNCF says we are worthy, HBCUs say we are worthy," said Brown." They provide the education we need to get our minds right so that we can become the influencers and not the influenced.  We should be grateful for the work done by UNCF."

Claflin President Henry N. Tisdale joined Brown in acknowledging the impact of UNCF by providing scholarships and access to education at HBCUs. He also expressed his gratitude for the support Claflin's UNCF campaign has received from the Orangeburg community.

"It's a difficult time for a large number of students, particularly those who are first generation college students," Tisdale said. "It is our collective responsibility to reach out and help these students earn college degrees so that they can become the next generation of visionary leaders.  I applaud individuals and organizations throughout Orangeburg County who are preserving the past and celebrating the future by supporting student scholarships and our UNCF fundraising campaign."

Teylor Alston, a UNCF scholarship recipient, reflected on her journey to Claflin and how UNCF has helped change her life.

"I am a first generation college student and I may not have enrolled at Claflin if not for UNCF," said Alston, a senior business administration major from Decatur, Ga. 

"They helped me and others realize that it’s much, much more we can do with our lives than just graduate from high school.  I want earn my degree to set an example for my younger sister who is a senior in high school.  I am very thankful for the UNCF and Claflin."

Since its inception in 1944, UNCF has raised more than four million dollars to help more than 400,000 students earn college degrees. The UNCF awards more than 10,000 students scholarships, worth more than $100 million, each year. In addition to scholarships, UNCF is the nation's leading advocate for the importance of minority education and community engagement.

To become a donor to the UNCF Scholarship Campaign at Claflin, contact Dr. Iris Bomar, associate vice president for institutional advancement at (803) 535-5376 or email ibomar@claflin.edu.

Pictured above: UNCF Community Prayer Breakfast: (L-R): Ms. Teylor Alston, UNCF Scholar; Claflin President Henry N. Tisdale, Rev. Todd A. Brown, New Mount Zion Baptist Church; Ms. Amber Ravenell; Claflin’s Miss UNCF.
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