ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - As we continue through Black History Month, retired pastor, Rev. Alonzo Patterson, reflects on African-American history and the impacts he's made on the Alaskan community. He says, although retired, his work isn't quite finished.
"I refuse to sit down and just be retired, said Reverend Patterson. "I have too much of a desire to bring us to the next level, and to help this generation see what that generation was about. I'm a little slower now. 82 is different than 33, but I still have that desire to make a difference."
Patterson was the first African-American to lead an Alaska church for more than 45 years. He was, and continues to be, an influential force in the Anchorage community. Patterson has made a difference in Alaska over the years by helping found and serve on the boards for numerous community development organizations, such as the Martin Luther King, Junior Foundation of Alaska. While reflecting on Black History Month, Patterson says he hopes his message of 'one purpose,' and 'one community' will continue to spread into the future. He also hopes history doesn't get lost in the ever-changing present.
"Don't forget your own history, because if you forget your history, you will not make any. And that's for all of our young people," said Pastor Patterson, "And don't forget your neighbors. They may be different from you, but necessary for you."
Even in retirement, Patterson continues to advocate for the church. He serves as Coordinator of Alaska Ministries for American Baptist Home Mission Societies, supporting existing and new churches all around the state.