Denzel Washington recently spoke about his faith at the 108th Holy Convocation COGIC Cares Banquet, an event to raise money for international disaster relief and scholarship funds. The two time Academy Award winner addressed a room of 12,000 guests, revealing some interesting facts about his belief in religion and how he was raised.
Bishop Charles Blake Introduces Denzel Washington
Before Denzel took the stage, he was introduced by his pastor, Bishop Charles Blake.
“I thought I would introduce him to you in this way. You are aware of the great roles that he has played – for some of the most significant and some of the great movies of our time. And he has an extensive resume describing the roles that he has played and awards that he has received. But as his pastor, I just want you to know him. Here is a man who has shown great love and great respect for his church and his pastor.”
The two men met in the early 1990's when they were both attending a social event. Denzel was serving as the MC of the event and Charles was seated next to him. Charles complimented Denzel on his acting abilities. In response, Denzel complimented Charles on his preaching abilities. Charles had had no clue that Denzel Washington was a member of his church. Denzel would attend every Sunday, but tried to keep it secret by sitting in the back to avoid taking attention away from Charles' preaching. When Denzel and his wife started to have children, they became more involved in the church.
"They were involved. Their children worked in our nursery and attended Sunday school. Whenever there was a need Mr. Denzel Washington was always overjoyed to respond with generosity – unprecedented generosity to the life of our church.”
Denzel was no stranger to the church before meeting Charles. His father, Denzel Hayes Washington, Sr., was a Pentecostal minister. Once Denzel took the stage, he reminisced about how his father was a huge role model to him. Denzel recalled to when his father would make the annual trip from New York to Tennessee to attend Convocation.
“My father ... was a pastor for the Church of God in Christ for 60 years ... He would get his best two suits together and my mother would fry him a tin of chicken and prepare a thermos of coffee and he would make the drive. I know he’s smiling in heaven, seeing his son doing the best I can do today, by the grace of God.”
Denzel also recalled sitting in his mother's beauty shop after flunking out of college with a 1.7 GPA.
"I had no future. I was sitting looking in the mirror and I see a woman behind me sitting under the dryer. Of course, the voice of God always comes from under a dryer.”
The woman was a long-time member of his church and she made a prediction for his life.
“She said, ‘young man, you are going to travel the world and speak to people. Now mind you I was 20 years old, with a 1.7 grade point average and had flunked out of school. She said, ‘you are going to preach. In this 40 year journey, I guess she was right. Through my work I have spoken to millions of people. In 2015 I said I’m no longer just going to speak through my work. I’m going to make a conscious effort to get up and speak about what God has done for me.”