Wilberforce alum delivering inaugural prayer

Local News

WILBERFORCE, Ohio (WDTN) — Wilberforce graduate Rev. Silvester Beaman will be in the spotlight at President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration Wednesday to deliver the benediction.

“I prayed in the U.S. House of Representatives; I’ve given the invocation there. I’ve given the invocation at the U.S. Senate; and so, I guess this would be the highest one,” says Beaman.

He says he’s both humbled and excited to be given the opportunity and says the steps he’s taken so far in life have led him to this moment.

“It’s only about–I would say–less than three minutes,” Rev. Beaman estimates the timing of the rough draft of his benediction.

The pastor is hoping to pack a punch with his words in a few short minutes Wednesday. All ears will be tuned into him to set the tone for the next four years.

“I want to be inclusive. This is our country, a country that we all need to learn how to live in, love in, heal in, grow in–regardless of who we are,” describes the reverend.

Rev. Beaman has been the pastor of Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Delaware for close to three decades. Since the age of 14, he knew he wanted to become a preacher, drawing inspiration from his own pastor.

“I came to Wilberforce knowing that this was my future,” says Beaman.

During his time at Wilberforce University, he developed his critical thinking and leadership skills. He was the freshman class president, became vice president of student government, and served as a student trustee. His path to success wasn’t always simple.

“I remember my first year at Wilberforce I nearly flunked out because it was a culture shock for me,” admits Beaman. 

It didn’t take long for him to get his act together and get back on track.

“I’ll tell you that next semester I got a 3.9,” smiles Beaman.

The reverend found his identity at the HBCU and laid the foundation for his career, leading him to where he is today.

“I wanted to be a blessing–To my family and ultimately, to my church,” says Beaman, who’s committed to making a difference.

He’s hoping his prayer will help make a difference Wednesday.  He has a history with the Bidens. He met Joe at a church event, and they became friends nearly 28 years ago. 

“If you know the President-elect, he has never met a stranger. And we became instant, fast friends,” describes Rev. Beaman.

He also became close with Joe Biden’s eldest son Beau, praying with him before he was deployed overseas and during his fight with brain cancer. The pastor, serving as a spiritual adviser, was a support for the family when Beau died.

With his personal bond, it’s no surprise the reverend is the one chosen to deliver Biden’s inaugural benediction.

“A senator said to me… He said, pastor you’re going to be praying the most significant prayer at an inauguration since Lincoln,” states Beaman, remaining cool under the pressure.

As he prepares his benediction, he’s hoping his message of common humanity will resound with a nation working to heal.

“If we can learn that there’s enough room for all of us to share, I believe we’d be a better nation for it,” says Beaman.

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