A Special Project: Response to Covid19

In response to the Coronavirus Pandemic, The EZRA Project launched its “Thank You” Thursdays Campaign. We issued a challenge for others to join us by making Thursdays special for a hero who was making the sacrifice to keep themselves and others safe during Covid19. 

Lunches for Heroes provided noon meals for First Responders and Essential Workers has provided lunches at local firehouses and a senior housing facility.

Our Board members and volunteers joined the In It Together Pen Share and our Essential Notes Blitz which provided social distancing reminders randomly to community members, search responders, essential workers in our groceries, drug stores, and post offices, and other areas.

For the Roseland Hospital Drive, The EZRA Project partnered with several organizations and individuals to raise funds for special thank you gift cards for workers at this neighborhood hospital which was still struggling to meet community need.


The Justice Project: Addressing Human Trafficking


The EZRA Project partnered with Compassion Mercy and Justice Ministry to launch an educational initiative that educates churches about the devastation of sex trafficking in the African American community and advocates for a response to this atrocity.


  1. To help churches act out the biblical and theological mandates for justice by help oppressed, enslaved, and endangered persons who victimized by sex trafficking.
  2. To help churches coordinate a response to sex trafficking in their communities, cities, and towns.
  3. To assist organizations who are on the frontlines of the rescue of victims and the restoration of survivors.
  4. To provide avenues of action for individuals and small groups of committed Christian lay persons and ministers.

Past Events

The five workshops conducted by The EZRA Project and CMJ Ministry between 2018 and 2019 addressed over 500 people in multiple churches around the Chicago area as well as nationally including a session in Juneau, Alaska. The EZRA Project also conducted a national survey among pastors and clergy to determine the awareness of this issue among church leaders.


Several resources are available on this site for download and additional information and website links are also provided. (I’ll identify and provide these.)

Michael and Rosa Sailes Scholar Program

The Michael and Rosa Sailes Legacy Awards are monetary gifts presented to an African American high school graduates and adult seminary students who have exhibit a passion for community service and church ministry.

Michael and Rosa Sailes

Current Scholars Coming Soon

The 2020 Scholars will be named in July.

Past Scholars

Russea Barefield 2019 Scholar

Russea Barfield

2019 Undergraduate Scholar:
Hampton University, Greater Mount Olive COGIC


Maurice Barnett

2018 Theological and Biblical Studies Scholar: Satin John Church-Baptist


Patti Caire

2017 Theological and Biblical Studies Scholar:  Apostolic Church of God


Kyndall Carter

2018 Undergraduate Scholar: Christian Life Center Church

Tyson Copeland

Tyson Tryon Copeland

2016 Undergraduate Scholar: Harvest Bible Chapel (Rolling Meadows, IL)

Amari Dixon 2019 Scholar

Amari Dixon

2019 Undergraduate Scholar: Saint Xavier University, Greater House of Prayer Church

Carrington 2019 Scholar

Carrington Jackson

2019 Undergraduate Scholar: Western Illinois University, One Vision Worship Center (Joliet, IL)


Brittney Gano

2018 Undergraduate Scholar: Apostolic Church of God


Terrence Hargrove

2016 Theological and Biblical Studies Scholar: Beulah Heights Apostolic Church (New Haven, CT)


Kanu Iheukumere

2019 Theological and Biblical Studies Scholar: Trinity United Church of Christ, McCormick  TheologicalSeminary


Jauron Morrison

2017 Undergraduate Scholar: Trinity United Church of Christ


Austin Rheme

2017 Undergraduate Scholar: Calvary Baptist Church

Lanyiard Smith RS Scholar

Lanyaird Smith

2019 Apostolic Church of God: Apostolic Church of God


Erin Snow

2017 Undergraduate Scholar: Erin Snow – Sheldon Heights Church


Alexander Stewart

2018 Theological and Biblical Studies Scholar: Rev. Alexander Stewart– Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ


Mariah Webb

2018 Undergraduate Scholar: St. Dorothy Catholic Church


The Torchbearers’ Legacy Luncheon honors unsung heroes of Christian faith who have served in churches and denominations for over 35 years. These awards were named as lasting memorials to those who dedicated their lives to various areas of the faith community.

Award Categories

The Gerald R. Nuckolls Award for Christian Education

The Louis Ervin-Richard “Buddy” Carter Award for Church Leadership

The Ella Mae Davis Award for Pastoral Care

Brazier Award for Church and Community Advancement

Presidents Award for Denominational and Community Support


Current Winners Announced Soon

The 2020 Scholars will be named in July.

Past Torchbearer Honorees

2012 The Gerald R. Nuckolls Award for Christian Leadership – Sister Joan Collier (Apostolic Church of God), Evangelist Betty Stephens (Hazel Crest Assembly Church) The Ervin-Carter Award for Church Leadership – Elder Richard McBride (Jesus Name Apostolic Church), Mrs. Josephine Taylor (Coppin Memorial A.M.E. Church) The Ella Mae Davis Award for Pastoral Care – Deacon Roscoe Butler (House of Prayer-Kankakee), Rev. Dr. Louis Toney (retired) – Coppin Memorial A.M.E. Church The President’s Award for Denominational Service and Leadership – Deaconess Katherine Thompson (Saint John Church-Baptist)

2013 Mrs. Maureen Beard – Saint John Church-Baptist, Sister Bertha Caesar – Living Springs Community Church (Glenwood), Sister Juanita Evans – Mount Zion Pentecostal Church of Jesus Christ in Gary, Indiana, Dr. Naomi Green – Saint John Church- Baptist, Elder Nathan Haymon – Apostolic Church of God, Elder Clifton Howard – Apostolic Faith Church, Dr. Dorothy Jackson – Apostolic Pentecostal Church of Morgan Park, Mother Mae Ella Kinnard – Apostolic Church of God, Ms. Jessie Mitchell – Saint John Church-Baptist, Deacon John Wakefield – Hazel Crest Assembly Church, President’s Award – Evangelist Sarah Martin – Apostolic Faith Church, President’s Award – Trustee Michael Sailes – Saint John Church-Baptist

2014 Sister Doris Burton – Third Baptists Church, Elder Hiram Jackson – Rehoboth Apostolic Church, Dr. Mary Hale McElroy – Emmanuel Baptist Church, Mother Joy Pearson – Pilgrim Baptist Church, Mother Mollie Plummer – True Vine Missionary Baptist Church, Assistant Pastor Dorothy Randolph – Dixmoor House of Prayer, Dr. Esther Ruth Collier Reid – Bethesda Worship Center (DesPlaines), Deacon Kenneth Walls – Hope Church-Chicago, Evangelist Avis West – Ebenezer House of Prayer, Sister Diane Wheeler – Apostolic Church of God, President’s Award – Trustee Wallace Witten   – Apostolic Church of God

2015: Recipients were identified this year; however, in recognition of the death of Trustee Michael Sailes, the ceremony was postponed. In addition, due to health and other issues, not all proposed recipients were able to accept the award.

2016 The Gerald R. Nuckolls Award for Christian Leadership, Sister Joan Collier – Apostolic Church of God, Evangelist Betty Stephens – Hazel Crest Assembly Church, The Ervin-Carter Award for Church Leadership, Elder Richard McBride – Jesus Name Apostolic Church, Mrs. Josephine Taylor – Coppin Memorial A.M.E. Church, The Ella Mae Davis Award for Pastoral Care, Deacon Roscoe Butler – House of Prayer (Kankakee), Rev. Dr. Louis Toney (retired) – Coppin Memorial A.M.E. Church, The President’s Award for Denominational Service and Leadership, Deaconess Katherine Thompson – Saint John Church-Baptist

2017 The Gerald R. Nuckolls Award for Christian Education, Elder Maurice and Evangelist Ada Landry, Deacon Jimmie and Minister Ida Carpenter, The Ervin-Carter Award for Church Leadership, Brother Fred and Dr. Esther Cooper, Deacon Will and Evangelist Sarah Martin, Trustee McKinley and Deaconess Marjorie Seaphus, The Ella Mae Davis Award for Pastoral Care, Apostle Aaron and Pastor Mable Royster, The President’s Award for Distinguished Service and Leadership, Rev. Dr. Estrelda Alexander, President, William Seymour College, The Arthur M. Brazier Award for Church and Community Development, Bishop Horace E. Smith, M. D. – Apostolic Faith Church, Lurie Children’s Hospital and Former Presiding  Bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World

2018 The Gerald R. Nuckolls Award for Christian Education, Dr. Joyce Gaye – Saint John Church-Baptist, Ms. Charlotte Warren – True Light Church-Baptist, Evangelist Shirley Shepherd Wright – Dixmoor House of Prayer, The Ervin-Carter Award for Church Leadership, Evangelist Patricia Ingram – Second Mount Vernon Missionary Baptist Church, Sister Jessie McCall – Prince of Peace Apostolic Church, Rev. Gloria Randolph – Giving God the Glory Ministries, Inc, The Ella Mae Davis Award for Pastoral Care, Apostle Charlene Crossley – The Church on the Way Praise Center, Bishop Charles Davis – Indiana Avenue Pentecostal Church, The President’s Award for Distinguished Service and Leadership, Rev. Ivory Nuckolls – Apostolic Church of God, Rev. Ronald Smith, Sr. – Apostolic Church of God, The Arthur M. Brazier Award for Church and Community Development, Dr. Jeanne Porter King – Christ Community Church and Transporter Group (C.E.O.)

2019 The 2019 Arthur M. Brazier Award For Church And Community Advancement, Rev. Dr. Leon Finney – The Woodlawn Organization And Metropolitan Apostolic Church, Presidents Award For Denominational And Community Support, Dr. Lou Della Evans-Reid – Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, Chicago (Rev. Charles Jenkins, Pastor), Gerald Nuckolls Award For Christian Education, Mrs. Glendora Daniels – Saint John Church-Baptist (Dr. James Dunn, Jr., Pastor), Dr. Barbara Martin – Apostolic Church Of God (Dr.  Byron T. Brazier, Pastor), Elder Lee Wakefield – Apostolic Faith Church (Bishop Horace E. Smith, M. D., Pastor), Ervin-Carter Award For Church Leadership, Deacon Charles Alexander – Saint John Church-Baptist, Chicago (Dr. James Dunn, Jr., Pastor), Sister Jesse Denson – Apostolic Church Of God (Dr. Byron T. Brazier, Pastor), Sister Barbara Trotter – Apostolic Church Of God (Dr. Byron T. Brazier, Pastor), Ella Mae Davis Award For Pastoral Care, Dr. Carolyn Goosby – Pastor Of Christ Centered Church Ministries, Chicago, Dr. Charles Reid – Pastor Of Bethesda Worship Center, Desplaines


The Index of Legendary Christians

Do you know someone – a relative, family friend or church mentor – who you consider to be a legendary Christian? Do you wish to honor a hero of faith from your church and community? Well, we have a solution for you. Your hero’s biography and photo can appear in The Index of Legendary Christians, a free, searchable, online database plus optional Index in book form. The first edition of The Index of Legendary Christians will be available in November 2021.

Applications will be available beginning September 15, 2020 and are due March 31, 2021 on the EZRA Project website (www.theezraproject.com). Each published entry will receive the 2021 Index of Legendary Christians in book form along with a framed commemorative certificate noting the person’s inclusion in the Index.

Christian Education and Leadership Training

Teachers Meeting: Webinars in Congregational Teaching

More Than Sunday School?

Face it. Congregational teaching is about helping Christians of all ages, backgrounds and experiences to embrace the Word of God in real time and through real circumstances. Because the Bible is “the mirror” by which we examine our lives and “the plumb line” for evaluating our spiritual journeys, each Congregational Teaching Webinar is designed to:

    • Teach you how to shift the focus from what you do to what each learner gains.
    • Equip you with the tools to gain confidence in presenting lessons.
    • Build communal capacity for faith formation and transformative living.
    • Provide instruction that helps create interactive teaching experiences.
    • Increase your ability to communicate Bible lessons effectively.
    • Help you both incorporate technology and use tech platforms for effective teaching.

The Ezra Project will launch Teachers Meeting: Webinars in Congregational Teaching in January 2021. Keep your eye on this page for more information or contact Dr. Rosa Sailes at ezrafactor@gmail.com.

Educated, Zealous, and Religious Advocates

Each year The EZRA Project recognizes African American students in the Chicago area who are active in their local churches and giving back to the Black/African American community. While this is a non-denominational award, the recipients are required to be members of churches recognized as part of the Christian community.

The award goes directly to the recipients for use in the manner that best fits their need. Applications for the EZRA Project Scholar Awards are available each year from February through June. All applications and supplemental materials must be submitted online. Recipients will be notified before August 1, and awards are presented by September 1. Recipients are also celebrated at the Annual Torchbearers Award Luncheon.


The Michael Sailes Legacy Scholar Awards are monetary gifts presented to African American students who are recent high school graduates. Applicants must be active in their local churches, exhibit an interest in service within the Black community, and be accepted into an accredited college or career-focused institution beginning in September of the award year. Letters of recommendation confirming community service and church involvement, as well as an essay and official documents including transcripts and proof of admission, must be submitted as part of the application. Financial aid and other monetary information are not required.


The Rosa Sailes Legacy Scholar Awards are monetary gifts presented to African American students enrolled in accredited seminaries or Bible colleges. These adults are not rquired to be active in or pursuing pastoral leadership. They must, however, give proof of being either in full-time, part-time, or bi-vocational ministry, or service as lay members or leaders in their local assemblies. Applicants must indicate how they have contributed their skill, talent, and time to the African American church and community; how their theological pursuits are enhancing or shaping their concept of what it means to serve God, the Church, and the Black community; and their plan for continuing their commitment to the Church and community after their theological studies.

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