The most influential black spiritual leaders

In recognition of Black History Month, Beliefnet has prepared its list of the most influential black spiritual leaders. As it explains:

In black communities, religious leaders have historically occupied a powerful position as gurus, advocates, stewards and preachers. Whether inspiring their congregations to stand up against social injustice or urging a focus on God-centered family values, black religious leaders are a crucial component of a rich and diverse spiritual landscape. In honor of Black History Month, Beliefnet has compiled a list of some of the nation’s most influential black spiritual leaders in 2008. While by no means comprehensive, the list includes some of today’s most prominent–and controversial–spiritual figures, some up-and-coming figures of note, and several individuals whose lifelong efforts have earned them a place in history.

The list is a diverse one, and includes both a rabbi and an imam. What is curious about the list–which purports to list this nation’s spiritual leaders–is that it includes Archbishop Peter Akinola:

Peter Akinola is the Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria, but he has become a major player in the division in the U.S. Episcopal Church, as well as a catalyst for change in the worldwide Anglican Communion of which the Episcopal Church is a part. He is a leader among those opposed to the ordination of homosexuals in the 77-million member Anglican Communion. In the U.S., when a small group of churches voted to split from the Episcopal Church over this and other issues, they asked Akinola to be their archbishop. He has become a force within his own tradition, but his prominence is also symbolic of an overall global shift, as many Christian churches see a rise in both numbers and influence of what some call the Global South-Africa, Asia, and South America.

Read it all here. Beliefnet also has a “Black Spiritual History” quiz here.

This is a very short list. Who is missing?

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