The Office of the Chaplain United States House of Representatives

Reverend Matthew Southall Brown, Sr.

St. John Baptist Church
Savannah, GA

Sponsor: Rep. John Barrow, (D-GA)
Date of Prayer: 11/18/2009

One Minute Speech Given in Recognition of the Guest Chaplain:

The SPEAKER. Without objection, the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Barrow) is recognized for 1 minute.

There was no objection.

Mr. BARROW. Madam Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to my friend, Rev. Matthew Southall Brown , Sr., who delivered the invocation for the House this morning.

If history is biography, then the history of the civil rights movement in my home of Savannah, Georgia, is the biography of Matthew Southall Brown . He got involved in the movement before there was a movement helping to bring about the end of one era and the birth of another.

During World War II, Rev. Brown was serving as an Army non–com in Europe when the Battle of the Bulge broke out. In those days, blacks were confined to supporting units. But when men were needed to fight, General Eisenhower called for black soldiers to volunteer infantry duty. Rev. Brown was one of the 2,221 who answered that call, even though he had to give up his rank to do so.

Later, answering a different call, Rev. Brown was chosen to lead Savannah's historic St. John Baptist Church. For over 35 years, Pastor Brown not only led his church family; he was a leader in the movement to secure equal rights and equal opportunity for everyone in our community.

Rev. Brown , thank you for being there with my father in Europe and for your willingness to give your life to help us win that war, even when it was unfair. But more importantly, thank you for spending your life to help us win the peace. Sometimes it's an awful lot easier to fight for your country than it is to live for your country. You've done both, and for that we salute you.

Opening Prayer Given by the Guest Chaplain:

Our Father, we are confident that you are here in the midst of us, so we ask for your wisdom and courage for the members of this august body, as they face the challenges of this day.

Lord, lead them, guide them in matters facing this nation and indeed the world. We live Lord, in a time when, "men are trying to war their way to peace, spend their way to wealth and enjoy their way to heaven."

Lord, it is our prayer that each member of this House of Representatives be sensitive to your voice, the needs of the people of America and throughout the world. May the decisions made here be for the good of America and the world.

Hasten the day when men will "beat their war tools into pruning hooks and study war no more." Finally Lord, we pray for our President, Barack Obama, his family and all leaders of this great nation.

May this nation once again hear the words of the Lord Himself saying, "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land." (II Chronicles 7:14)

It is in the Name of him who said, "If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me." Amen.

To learn more about Members who have sponsored a Guest Chaplain, please visit the Congressional Biographical Directory