Current NBCI Programs
the History of the Black Church National Project
First African Baptist Church
is the oldest Black Baptist church in America.
National Black Church Initiative is working with the Smithsonian
Institute to help preserve and protect the history of the black
church. This project will seek to raise funds to preserve the history
of First African Baptist Church of Savannah, Georgia. This is our
first project. Every year we will select a church to help them preserve
the history of their church and important church records. NBCI will
hire curators to teach church how to preserve and store records.
The main focus of the project is to help preserve documents, photographs,
architectural design, help restoring the historic structure through
renovation and helping to document the history of the church and
the importance of it to church history in general and the black
church in particular.
We are working with the Smithsonian
to guarantee that hundreds of years from now our grandchildren will
know the importance of the black church through this preservation
project. They will be able to read the original documents of our
church like the constitution of our churches, our hymn books, our
sermons, and negro spirituals. This project helped in the continuity
in the rich tradition of the black church from one generation to
The written church history has
become essentially important to document its history. The black
church has a rich and enduring oral tradition. This is an attempt
to create that history through documentation. We will use many means
to do this; video photography will be one of those new technological
concepts and documenting the extraordinary history of the black
church. We will also use the latest techniques in photographing
and preserving historic documents. Not only is this important for
scholars but as we press forth the case of recreation, our church
records will become an essential component in securing compensation
for the labor of our forefathers. But it also will serve as a living
testimony of the black church struggle for freedom, justice, and
justice for all.
Most importantly, this project
serves as a permanent record of our service and eternal commitment
to our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. These written testimonies of
our walk with Christ will bear witness to our labor to the Gospel
and serve as spiritual encouragement for our children's children
to live, to preach, and to share the gospel of salvation of our
Lord and savior Jesus Christ to their generation and to the lost.
On a breezy December day, God
ordained that Thurmond Neill Tillman was born in West Palm Beach,
Florida to the Reverend and Mrs. Eugene C. Tillman, Sr. He was reared
in Brunswick, GA and graduated from Glynn Academy and Brunswick
Junior College. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology
with an emphasis in Criminal Justice and minor in Business Management
from the State University of West Georgia in Carrollton.
his obedience to the call of God and quest for seminary training,
he attended and graduated the Interdenominational Theological Center
Morehouse School of Religion in Atlanta, GA. There he received the
Master of Divinity degree with a dual concentration in Bible and
In 1976, he was licensed to preach the Gospel at Shiloh Baptist
Church, where Reverend E.C. Tillman, Sr. serves as pastor.
The Lord God said, “It is
not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable
for him.” (Genesis 2:18) Once again, Tillman listened to God
and married Lawanda Copeland and they have two beautiful daughters;
Trenile Nicole and Lauren Christina.
The First African Baptist
Church, Franklin Square, Savannah, GA called him to serve as pastor
in Savannah, Georgia in 1982. He has been teaching and preaching
the Gospel and counting it all joy year after year with the oldest
African American congregation.
Other Current NBCI Projects
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