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Inauguration Interfaith Service

Interfaith Service

Guest Speaker: Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III,
Senior Pastor, Abyssinian Baptist Church
President, State University of New York at Old Westbury

Sunday, April 10, 2016, 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Spelman College, Sisters Chapel
350 Spelman Lane, SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30314-4399

Interfaith Service Speaker:  Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III

reverendcalvinbutts Education and faith are the hallmarks of the ministry of the Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III, infusing his life, his work and his teachings. As Pastor of the nationally renowned Abyssinian Baptist Church in the City of New York, and President of the State University of New York College at Old Westbury, Dr. Butts’ sincere commitment to enhancing the kingdom of God on earth is evidenced in a loyal attention to the daily activities and services of the congregation, as well as the pervasive impact of the church on community development initiatives including homelessness, senior citizen and youth empowerment, cultural awareness and ecumenical outreach.

Under Dr. Butts’ leadership, Abyssinian Baptist Church is committed to the expansion and maintenance of its Christian mission to win more souls for Christ through evangelism, pastoral care, Christian education, social service delivery, and community development. Toward that end, in 1989 Rev. Butts was one of the founders, and is the current Chairman of the Abyssinian Development Corporation, a comprehensive, community-based, not-for-profit organization responsible for over $600 million in housing and commercial development in Harlem. He was also instrumental in establishing the Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change—a public, state-of-the-art, intermediate and high school in Harlem—and he is the visionary behind the Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School, which opened in September 2005.

A native New Yorker, Dr. Butts spent a few years in the South, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Morehouse College. He returned to New York and earned a Master of Divinity in Church History from Union Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate of Ministry in Church and Public Policy from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. The Reverend was conferred with honorary degrees from Morehouse; The City College of New York; Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama; Claflin College of Orangeburg, South Carolina; Dillard University, New Orleans, Louisiana; Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pennsylvania; and Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut.

Rev. Butts was an Urban Affairs instructor, and served as an Adjunct Professor in the African Studies Department at New York‘s City College. He also taught Black Church History at Fordham University, and continues to lecture and speak at colleges, universities and various organizations throughout the United States and abroad. Read More >>

Service Highlights

Voices From the World                       

Rwandan National Anthem
Spelman/Morehouse Rwandan Students

Call to Worship


Brandice Brown, C’2016
Denise Lawrence, C’2017
Taylor Munson, C’2016
Marica Wright, C’2016

"Waters" by Gloria Wade Gayles, Ph.D., Founding Director

Poetry in Motion

Veta Goler, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Dance
Brandice Brown, C’2016
Assata Hefner, C’2017
Poem: This We Have Now by Rumi
Poem: Body Prayer by Veta Goler, Ph.D.
Choreography: Dianne McIntyre, Distinguished Visiting Scholar


Great Is Your Faithfulness

Great is Your faithfulness, O God, Creator, With you no shadow of turning we see;

You do not change, your compassions they fail not; All of your goodness forever will be.

Summer and winter, and spring time and harvest, Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above,

Join with all nature in manifold witness, To Your great faithfulness, mercy, and love.


Pardon for sin and a peace so enduring, Your own dear presence to cheer and to guide;

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside.


Great is Your faithfulness! Great is Your faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed Your hand has provided,

Great is Your faithfulness, God, unto me!