In three of the four gospels of Jesus Christ (Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:21, and Luke 23:26), Simon of Cyrene is presented as the African who was compelled to bear the cross of Jesus. Cyrene was a city in North Africa in Libya. Simon was probably a convert to Judaism who was in Jerusalem to celebrate Passover when he happened upon the scene of Christ’s crucifixion. The Roman soldiers seized him and ordered him, as if he were a slave, to carry the cross of Jesus since Jesus, weakened by torture, was unable to bear it.
Alan Jones, Knoxville, TN Member Since January 2007 Artist Statement
Alan M. Jones is Pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church in Clinton, Tennessee, Art Director at the Literacy Imperative Center in Knoxville, TN, and has worked as Research Associate with the Community Partnership Center of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN. Alan is also an accomplished freelance artist.
As an artist, he paints under the pseudonym “Theophilus”. His paintings reflect black heritage, social statement, and biblical themes in an effort to strengthen his community. Blacks in The Bible and Urban Inner Visions are two projects he continues to explore. He has completed Church Murals, community murals and portraits as well. He recently completed the design for the new Black Cultural Center Brick Frieze and the tile floor for the University of Tennessee.
As a Research Associate and Pastor, he has been involved in an initiative entitled "The Clinton Desegregation Project: before Little Rock” in which he is working with Knoxville Youth and Church Members to review and commemorate through visual art, music, and narration the significant Civil Rights history regarding the desegregation of Clinton High School.
Prior to his ministry, Alan worked for approximately 20 years with Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation in a variety of positions including Administrator for Community Based Programs and Human Resources.