The Black Church — Where it’s been, Where it’s now, Where it’s going — Thursday, June 27, 2024, at 12:30 p.m. EDT

Religion News Service

The Black church in America has served communities and the nation for centuries. Given the church’s essential role, it is important to understand its historical contributions as well as the continuing challenges that arise from issues such as the impact of COVID-19 and generational differences. It is equally important to highlight opportunities, including the Black church’s voter participation initiatives prior to the 2024 elections.

Join us on Thursday, June 27, at 12:30 p.m. EDT for a timely and important one-hour conversation with leaders in the Black church as they discuss the key roles it has played, is playing and will play nationwide.

The event is free. However, advanced registration is required at


Program Details

Adelle Banks, RNS projects editor and national reporter, will be in conversation with the Rev. Carl E. Patten, II and the Rev. Jacqueline A. Thompson.

Adelle M. Banks is the projects editor and a national reporter for RNS, covering topics including religion and race, the faith of African Americans and partnerships between government and religious groups. An award-winning journalist, Banks joined RNS in 1995. She previously was the religion reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and a reporter at The Providence Journal and newspapers in the upstate New York communities of Syracuse and Binghamton.

Banks was honored in April 2024 with Religion News Association’s William A. Reed Lifetime Achievement Award, and in December 2023 at The Unsung She-Roes Awards: Centering and Celebrating Black Women in Ministry for outstanding media coverage. She received the Washington Association of Black Journalists’ inaugural lifetime achievement award in 2022. Banks spearheaded RNS’ “Beyond the Most Segregated Hour” project, which won a 2021 Wilbur Award from the Religion Communicators Council, and an RNS project on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, which won a 2014 Wilbur Award. She also is the co-author of a forthcoming book, expected to be released in October 2024, on the future of the church in America and how it will affect the next generation of leaders. Banks is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College.

Rev. Carl E. Patten, II is a leader in the Church of God in Christ (COGIC). He is an Ordained Elder, Barbados 1st West Indies Jurisdiction; Director of Leadership Development, Cathedral of Faith COGIC in Atlanta; Ordination Board Chair, Barbados 1st West Indies Jurisdiction; and Ordination Board Member, North Central Georgia Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction COGIC.

Patten also is the Vice President of Information Technology at the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta. He leads a team of IT professionals that serves more than 8,000 youth across 26 locations and 10 counties. His current work at BGCMA includes major financial, donor, and member management system transformations. Patten has more than 17 years of experience in professional services responsible for relationship cultivation, business development, sales, project delivery, product management, program management, strategy, operations, technology, and innovation for Fortune 500 organizations within healthcare, financial services, consumer goods, retail, nonprofit, higher education, and other industries. His passion is helping people and organizations achieve optimized outcomes on their strategic journeys.

Patten holds degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Charles Harrison Mason Theological Seminary at Interdenominational Theological Center, and Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. He is pursuing his D. Min. from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology.

Rev. Jacqueline A. Thompson serves as the Senior Pastor of The Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, California. Her 2019 election made history nationwide as the first woman called to serve as Senior Pastor of this historic African American Baptist Church founded in 1919. Thompson earlier served as the Assistant Pastor at Allen Temple and as Youth Minister at Shiloh Baptist Church of Washington, D.C., the first woman to serve in both capacities. She is currently on the teaching staff of the Berkeley School of Theology in the area of Public Theology and Preaching. Thompson was inducted into the distinguished Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers. In 2022, the members of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. — the denominational home of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. – voted to elect her 2nd Vice-President. She is the first woman elected to serve in this capacity.

Thompson holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley; Howard University School of Divinity; and Fuller Theological Seminary.



RNS is an independent nonprofit news organization that provides objective, in-depth religion reporting and commentary by a team of professional journalists. Founded in 1934, RNS’s mission is to improve understanding and foster discussion about religion, faith, and beliefs in everyday life. Its journalism is available for free on its website and through its podcasts, newsletters, and social media. RNS also partners with mainstream media outlets to deliver news, features, and commentary to its readers and followers. RNS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Religion News Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization. To learn more, visit

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