Black History Month: The CEO of the Conference of Churches has its first black pastor

CEO of the Conference of Churches has its first black pastor
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 5:41 PM EST
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - To kick off Black History Month, Rev. Lydell Brown is making Hartford history at the Collaboration Center.

Brown is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Conference of Churches, and the first black man to hold this position since it started in 1901.

“I’ve actually held every position you can hold at the Conference of Churches,” said Brown.

The Conference used to be run by a group of churches, but now the 224 EcoSpace is a social enterprise run like a corporation with a CEO.

Primarily, the Center function as a gathering place for everyone from artists to business entrepreneurs as well as fitness and wellness classes.

“They come in here and get what they need. If they need business, you can start your business here and get training here,” said Brown. “If you want to come in and do performance art, there’s spaces for you to do that.”

Rev. Brown has been at the Collaboration Center for 21 years, but as the man in charge now he finds himself at the start of a new beginning.

Brown said, “I’ve watched it grow from something that was just an idea to something that is a proven method where people are actually walking around.”

It’s been a long journey that Brown thanks his wife, 3 now grown daughters, and grandson for strength and support.

He is also a pastor at a church in Waterbury, but Brown sees his work as a CEO also as a ministry.

“I’ve had a lot of colleagues ask me, how is having people come do Zumba, yoga, and meetings a ministry,” Brown said. “To me, ministry is simply providing a service that meets your needs. That’s how I exercise my faith.”

Brown said that his faith is born from years of service, and as CEO Brown is ready to put in more work than ever before.

“I always tell my parishioners, God never calls you to be successful,” said Brown. “He calls us to be faithful. And when you’re faithful, you’re successful.”

He understands the importance of being the first pastor and hopes that his lead continues to open the door for others.