Recognition of accomplishments of African-Americans was held during the Black History Program at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Prattville, AL, where Rev. Jeff Hesterman is the pastor.
The program, “A Century of Black Life, Culture and History – The Struggle Continues” featured speaker Constance Smith Hendricks, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, a Concordia alumni who returned to establish an accredited nursing program.
Hendricks talked about her struggles as a young divorced student with a 10-year old daughter, leaving Alabama to attend Boston College in Massachusetts, where she graduated in 1992 as the first African American to complete the Ph.D. program in clinical nursing research. She shared that the local church gave her the support she needed as the only black student in the College of Nursing.
Hendricks retired two years ago from the School of Nursing at Auburn University, where she held the Charles W. Barkley Endowed Chair. She returned “home” to establish and direct a nursing program at Concordia College Alabama. She had attended the institution – then named Alabama Lutheran Academy – from the age of three through high school.
She serves as professor, Division of Health Sciences Chair and Department of Nursing Director – RN to BSN Program. She told the congregation she was excited about Concordia College Alabama recently gaining a six-year accreditation for the nursing program through the National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation in February.
Dr. Hendricks reminded us that “There is nothing too had for God.” Her uplifting message included references from James 4:2, “You have not, because you ask not” and Matthew 21:22, “Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” She concluded her remarks with a stirring rendition of “Only What You Do for Christ Will Last.”