2017 Annual Book & Author Luncheon

US Senate

On June 27, 2003, Rear Admiral Barry C. Black (Ret.) was elected the 62nd Chaplain of the Senate.  He started work on July 7, 2003.  In addition to opening the Senate each day in prayer, Chaplain Black provides counseling and spiritual care for Senators, their families, and staff -- a combined constituency of over seven thousand people.  He also meets with Senators about spiritual and moral issues, assists with research on theological and Biblical questions, and facilitates small group discussion and reflection among Senators and staff.  He also conducts marriage enrichment counseling and officiates at weddings, funerals, and memorial services.  Chaplain Black initiates and participates in special and seasonal observances, leads interdenominational prayer gatherings, and cultivates relationships with local clergy and leaders of humanitarian agencies. The Office of the Chaplain is nonpartisan, nonpolitical and nonsectarian.


2017 Honoree, Dr. Barry C. Black

United States Senate Chaplain

Author of "Nothing to Fear: Principles and Prayers to Help You Thrive in a Threatening World"

Founded 1966

Black's perspective, his biblical insights and powerful prayers have never been more needed. His teachings on how to live "boldly, bravely, and faithfully in the face of today's perils," followed by his prayer to "replace our anxiety with calm, our confusion with clarity and our despair with hope" are refreshing and encouraging. On a scale of one to ten, "Nothing to Fear" is a twelve because with the Lord there is nothing to fear but fear itself. - Gail Wellborn, Midwest Book Reviews

The Oracle Set Book Club

& Foundation

Professional & Personal 

Chaplain Black is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and an alumnus of Oakwood College, Andrews University, North Carolina Central University, Palmer Theological Seminary, Salve Regina University, and Alliant International University. In addition to earning Master of Arts degrees in Divinity, Counseling, and Management, he has received a Doctorate degree in Ministry and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Psychology. Chaplain Black has been selected for many outstanding achievements. Of particular note, he was chosen from 127 nominees for the 1995 NAACP Renowned Service Award for his contribution to equal opportunity and civil rights. He received the 2002 Benjamin Elijah Mays Distinguished Leadership Award from The Morehouse School of Religion.  In 2004, the Old Dominion University chapter of the NAACP conferred on him the Image Award, “Reaffirming the Dream – Realizing the Vision” for military excellence.  In 2006 he authored his autobiography entitled, “From the Hood to the Hill,” in 2011 “The Blessing of Adversity,” and with an anticipated release in 2017 “Nothing to Fear.” 

Chaplain Barry C. Black is married to the former Brenda Pearsall of St. Petersburg, Florida. They have three sons: Barry II, Brendan, and Bradford.  


US Navy

Commissioned as a Navy Chaplain in 1976, Chaplain Black’s first duty station was the Fleet Religious Support Activity in Norfolk, Virginia. Subsequent assignments include Naval Support Activity, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland; First Marine Aircraft Wing, Okinawa, Japan; Naval Training Center, San Diego, California; USS BELLEAU WOOD (LHA 3) Long Beach, California; Naval Chaplains School Advanced Course, Newport, Rhode Island; Marine Aircraft Group THIRTY-ONE, Beaufort, South Carolina; Assistant Staff Chaplain, Chief of Naval Education and Training, Pensacola, Florida; and Fleet Chaplain, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Norfolk, Virginia.

As Rear Admiral, his personal decorations included the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (two medals), Meritorious Service Medals (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals (two awards), and numerous unit awards, campaign, and service medals. 

Most people see trouble as something negative and seek to avoid it whenever possible. But what if it’s those troubles that actually lead to greater blessing and purpose? In The Blessing of Adversity, a retired U.S. Navy admiral and the 62nd chaplain of the U.S. Senate distills the wisdom gained from thirty years as a counselor, theologian, and psychologist. Barry Black offers a blueprint for removing the sting of life’s trials, showing us how to let God use our pain for his glory by blessing others—and how that can actually help heal our own pain.

Books by Dr. Barry C. Black

Dr. Black Featured on MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show"

"Chaplain Barry Black embodies the best of the American Spirit and the Christian tradition-a man of great erudition who has never forgotten his humble roots; a man of great faith who remains open to all the wisdom of all people; a man of great seriousness who knows how to laugh. The Senate and the country are grateful for his service." - BARRACK OBAMA, US Senator