Rev. Norvel I. Brown, lead pastor of the Cary United Methodist Church in Cary
Organizers of the Junteenth—Freedom Day Festival to be held on held on Saturday, June 17 from 3 to 5:30 pm on the historic Woodstock Square are proud to announce that the Rev. Norvel I. Brown, lead pastor of the Cary United Methodist Church in Cary, will bless the proceedings with an invocation and benediction.
Rev. Brown is a powerful speaker who recently stirred attendees at the 2023 Dr. Martin Luther King Day Breakfast sponsored by Faithbridge. Norvel I. Brown was born on June 17, 1954, the 251st anniversary of the birth of John Wesley. He was raised in the farming community of Brandywine, Maryland, near Washington, DC. the product of loving parents and a loving congregation who heard a call to ministry at an early age. Rev. Brown graduated from the University of Chicago, got his Master of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and Doctor of Ministry from Chicago Theological Seminary. Norval is also an oblate at St. Benedict’s Abbey in Peoria, Illinois and he serves on various boards and agencies of the church and community.
He has served large parishes and small parishes; African American, predominantly Anglo, and multi-racial; urban and suburban. He was on the staff at St. Mark from 1976 – 1978. He has served as a campus minister and an adjunct faculty member at Chicago Theological Seminary.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the date when enslaved persons in Galveston, Texas, who had been cut off from news of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 when the Union took control of the length of the Mississippi River, first heard that they had been freed from an order read by the Union general who arrived with troops to take control of the port. It became an annual festival in cities and towns across Texas in the post-Civil War Era. In this century observations have spread across the United States as a Jubilee day of liberation.
This first ever McHenry County celebration was organized by Gloria Van Hof, a McHenry County Board member, noted Underground Railroad historian, and long-time activist along with other community leaders.
The program will feature speakers, musical performances, and readings with food trucks, vendors, and fun family activities on the Square.