Rev. Dr. Henry L. Masters
By Cora Jackson-Fossett
Sentinel Religion Editor
Advent, hospitality and African American traditions are the focus of a new book by Rev. Dr. Henry L. Masters Sr., pastor of the historic Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles.
ìMaking Room in the Inn: Christmas Hospitality through an African American Experienceî offers four Advent lessons explaining how African history, ethics and theology have a continuing influence on Christian practices.
ìHospitality finds its deepest and most joyful expression during the Advent season and itís an essential part of the Christmas story,î said Rev. Masters.
ìMy hope is that this book will inform, inspire and acquaint people with the connection between the Holy Family fleeing to Egypt for refuge, the giving of hospitality by an African village, and how the descendants of Africa have been rescuing people ever since.î
Using scripture, current statistics, and personal family memories, Dr. Masters describes the similar circumstances faced by Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus and black people in America. The scenarios show that the practice of hospitality existed during the African Diaspora and demonstrated throughout the centuries despite slavery, racism, and discrimination.
ìThe common experience with the sweet little Jesus boy is indelibly etched into the psyche of the black soul. We practice a magnified hospitality during the Christmas season by opening our hearts, our doors, our kitchens and pockets in unimaginable ways. Black people have found a way, when there is no way, to be used of God, time and time again, to make the world better,î he said.
The book examines four disciplines of hospitality. It also includes a leader guide for churches and small groups to use as a weekly Advent study.
ìMakiní Roomî draws on Luke 2:4-7 to illustrate cultivating and living out hospitality in a diverse world. ìMakin Do,î from Luke 2:21-24, emphasizes trusting God as compared to trusting in wealth. ìMakin Upî utilizes Matthew 2:19-21 to teach the importance of forgiveness and reconnection. ìMakin Timeî highlights Luke 2:15-19 to show that the most precious gift is presence.
ìThis Advent/Christmas season, make your place a space where you make room for others, emotionally and physically; make do with what you have, make up with those who need to hear a reconciling word from you, and make time for those who need it most,î said Dr. Masters.
ìAdvent is a time for making new discoveries in light of Godís revelation in the birth of Jesus Christ. I hope this book will empower believers to begin or extend their own tradition of hospitality.î
On Saturday, November 27, at 2 p.m., Dr. Masters will conduct an Advent Study and Book Signing at the Windsor Hills Christian Book Center, located at 4438 West Slauson Avenue in Los Angeles. Also, on December 4, 11, and 18, at 12 noon, he will instruct Advent Study sessions at the book center. For details, call (323) 290-3079.
About The Author
Dr. Masters was assigned in 2001 as the third pastor of Holman, the largest United Methodist Church in Los Angeles with a membership in excess of 2,000.† Also, he preaches to an audience of 30,000 on a live Broadcast on KJLH, 102.3 F.M., airing Sundays at 11 a.m.
Ordained as a United Methodist minister in 1972, Dr. Masters previously headed several churches in Texas including the historic St. Paul UMC in downtown Dallas. Due to his experience and skill in urban church ministries, he was appointed an adjunct faculty member at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. †
Dr. Masters received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1968, Masters of Theology Degree in 1971 and a Doctor of Ministry Degree in 1990.†A Doctor of Divinity (D.D.) Degree from the Houston-Tillotson College (Austin) was conferred in 1990.
He is also the author of ìSimon of Cyrene ñ The Crossbearer of Jesus, Who Was The Only African Eyewitness to the Crucifixion.,î††which was published and released in 2004.