My name is Jake Hanson. I’ve been interested in Brother Bryan of Birmingham for about 20 years. I first encountered him through the biography Religion in Shoes. When I read it, the book made me love him, but also made me love Birmingham—a place to which I had never been.
About 10 years after my introduction to Brother Bryan through that book, I moved to Birmingham to go to Beeson Divinity School. I published two books while I was in Birmingham. The first was a biography on Billy Graham called Igniting the Fire: The Movements and Mentors Who Shaped Billy Graham and the second was on John Wesley, called Crossing the Divide: John Wesley, Fearless Evangelist.
I began preaching at the Brother Bryan Mission while a student at Beeson and continued for seven years every Wednesday night. In 2016, my mentor, Dr. Lyle Dorsett asked me to write a biography on Brother Bryan. He had been gathering information on him for some 30 years, but didn’t feel he could write the biography, so he asked me to. I couldn’t say no.
What I found when I took on this task was that it was much larger than I had ever anticipated or expected. Brother Bryan was a man with many more dimensions than had been revealed in Religion in Shoes, and access to old newspapers through the Library of Congress, the Birmingham Public Library, Newspapers.com, other libraries, cities and collections has led me on a longer than expected journey.
I hope that this site is an extension of the book I am working to write called Marked By Love. Brother Bryan’s ministry was a ministry marked by love, and one that earned him the love and respect of the city of Birmingham.
May this site and my book, as well as the books of his writings I hope to also publish, help revive his memory, and some of the methods of his ministry—a ministry to the overlooked of society, sharing with them the love of God.