Church Marks Passing of First Black Adventist Chaplain


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While President Barack Obama and members of the United States Senate attended a funeral mass for Senator Edward Kennedy Saturday at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica in suburban Boston, Barry Black, the chaplain of the United States Senate and an ordained Seventh-day Adventist minister, marked the passing of the first black Adventist military chaplain.

Colonel Joseph Tiffany Powell died on August 21 at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Loma Linda, California. The retired military chaplain had been suffering from a heart condition for several years. He was 85 years old.

Rear Admiral Barry Black, another black Adventist military chaplain who credits Powell with paving the way for African American servicemen and women, delivered a eulogy for Powell at the Kansas Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church in Riverside, California. Powell was given a military funeral with full military honors.

Rev. Daniel Coughlin, Chaplain of the House of Representatives, delivered a prayer in front of the Senate steps of the U.S. Capitol in the absence of Chaplain Black.

The Black Voice News Online notes that Powell will leave a powerful legacy as a civil rights leader, a spiritual mentor, and a hero to many.

    “Future years will not be the same without Powell. He was an active member of our Armed Forces Committee,” said Lt. Col. Bill Howe (ret. ), the Armed Forces Day leader [at the Kansas Ave. Church]. This year, Major Chaplain Andrew Harwood presented Powell with a flag that flew over Afghanistan, the moving ceremony was complete with honor guard, said Howe. Howe, friend of all three men, said that he looked at Powell’s spiritual leadership and the respected bond they each had for each other. He said when they would greet each other they would do so with a salute and a warm handshake. ”I looked upon him as a spiritual leader, we had a special relationship,” said Howe.

Colonel Powell's final resting place will be the Riverside National Cemetery. Powell is survived by his wife Alice Pettiford Powell, his two daughters Cynthia Powell-Hicks and JoAnne Powell Lightford, and five grandchildren.

For more on the life of Colonel Powell, see the report from Black Voice News Online and an article by the Adventist Review.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/1818