Current News and Information
The First Week Following the
2016 Presidential Election
Divisive, racist, fear and harm are the four words we have heard too often over the past few days - not hope, change, unity and love. There is a heaviness upon the shoulders of those who have been taunted and bullied by the system and held hostage to privilege and neglect for far too long. Those with voices to cry loud and spare not are doing so in the streets across this country. Those with the stamina to hold high the banner of truth and justice are standing taller. Those with angles on policy and anger over politics are challenging the status quo. Yet many seem to be waiting for a malaise to settle upon those who dare express their pain and disbelief over what has happened and what is expected to happen in the coming season.
Black Methodists for Church Renewal resists the evil of any thing fashioned as oppression and discrimination wrought against any child of God. It is our duty and call to advocate for the black boys and girls who now wonder if it is mere folly for them to dream of vocations and vacations where they will be judged by the content of the their character instead of by the deep-seeded hate that pre-dated their existence. It is also and equally our duty and call to advocate for the right and better treatment of our Latino brothers and sisters who experience ridicule and threats of their families being ripped apart. Lest we forget that such did befall the black community in chattel slavery when fathers, sons and husbands were stripped, beaten and sold off and apart from their families for profit. It was not too long ago that southern trees bore strange fruit of our men - dangling and fighting for rights and freedom. Even in this present age, we see our men being funneled through the failing school to prosperous prison pipeline.
We have much to be proud of as a people. We have countless heroines and heroes upon which we can look for inspiration to respond to the call that is now upon us. We must not cower in the face of adversaries or policies that threaten to roll back civil liberties that made it legal and possible for us to express ourselves and to engage the powers-that-be. We must not waver in our commitment to stand with and for all oppressed people because we know how it is and we know how it feels. We are also aware that what is done to another group or community, can and most likely will, be done to us.
In that spirit, let us pray and stand with vigor and determination to expose racism when and where we experience it. Let us call out those in leadership who are not willing to provide safe space for those who have been marginalized and feel threatened.
Let us be in solidarity with the young Hispanic/Latino youth who attended Pilgrimage, sponsored by the North Carolina Annual Conference. Bishop Hope Morgan Ward wrote: "...we give thanks for the glorious celebration that is Pilgrimage. Thousands of young people will gather in Fayetteville for a wonderful weekend of worship, of connecting with one another, and of being inspired to be God's salt and light out into all the world." Instead of the event being what was hoped and planned, one of the Hispanic/Latino youth had a clothespin placed upon his shirt by another person. On one side of the clothespin was written, "I Love Trump." On the other side of the clothespin was written, "Build a Wall." Imagine one of your children being assaulted in a similar manner. You need not struggle to imagine it, because it did happen to one of our children and we must move beyond disgust to outrage that some would label any response such a vile act as "political."
Black Methodists for Church Renewal must "stay woke" and advocate for change in these times and know our voices and our hearts are powerful when they agree and when they coalesce for causes and opportunities for hope, change, unity and love to prevail against divisiveness, racism, fear and harm. Another reason to "stay woke" and advocate for and end to oppression is because this is only the first week following the presidential election. Lord, in your mercy.
BMCR Board Chairperson
PINCUM GENERAL ASSEMBLY
November 11-12, 2017
Santa Ana United Methodist Church
609 N. Spurgeon Street, Santa Ana, CA 92705
O come let us sing unto the Lord, let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation. Psalm 95:1
What to Expect:
· Fellowship, Worship and Visioning
· Leadership Training and Learning
· Election of Board of Directors and Officers (Please visit website for information on voting delegates.)
· Lodging: A room block has been set up at the Holiday Inn Express, 2726 S. Grand Ave., Santa Ana, CA; (714) 481-6300. Please book your room by October 27 in order to receive the meeting rate of $96 per room, for up to 4 people, including breakfast. Refer to Pacific Island Ministry Room Block when making a reservation.
· Pre-registration link: https://pacificislandministry.wufoo.com/forms/z45myjm0s6fedn/
· For more information, please visit PINCUM.org.
Church and Society is hosting a seminar on Guns and Faith in November and registration is open now! Join with other United Methodists for an opportunity for laity and clergy to share and learn about gun violence, gun violence prevention legislation, and strategies for coalition building and mobilizing congregations to be the change God calls us to be. There is a discount for United Methodists who come from the same local church, and scholarships are available for those from Ethnic Local Churches.
The Faith and Guns Forum will be held on November 14 - 16, 2016 in the United Methodist Building in Washington D.C. on Capitol Hill. The forum will be addressing issues of guns and faith, guns and policy, guns and public health, guns and survivors and guns and organizing. You will also have the option of meeting with the office of your Congressional representative on the last day and gain resources to take back to continue the work. It will be a time of worship, hearing from experts and gaining resources to walk towards justice.
Garrett-Evangelical Announces New Center
for Music and Worship in the Black Church
Rev. Dr. Cynthia A. Wilson, assistant vice president of student life, dean of students,
and PhD alumna of Garrett-Evangelical, will serve as director of the center
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is pleased to announce the founding of The Center for Music and Worship in the Black Church Experience (CMWBCE), a one-of-a-kind in North America. The mission of the center is to provide training in the sacred music of the Black church and beyond to musicians and worship leaders for the enrichment of congregational worship in diverse contexts. Courses will be specific to the following objectives: the re-creation and revitalization of the distinctive musical and liturgical heritage found in Black church contexts; strengthening the spiritual formation and leadership skills of full-time and volunteer worship staff in Black churches, as well as other faith communities; and the recovery and preservation of the rich musical and liturgical heritage found in Black church worship contexts. Many programs have closed that have historically stood as the vanguard for the training of musicians (vocal and instrumental), worship leaders, choral directors, pastors, audio/visual personnel, and others for the Black church. With these closures, Black churches have lost primary places of spiritual formation and transformation for their communities of faith, and the unique worship celebration in this context has begun to lose its liberating, transformational edge. Currently, there are no significant training programs in the nation dedicated to the particularities of this rich tradition. The Center for Music and Worship in the Black Church Experience seeks to fill that void.
U.S. Black Methodists release documents to help confront racism
23 September 2015
The United States-based organization “Black Methodist United” has released three documents to help churches and communities confront racism by taking deliberate action.
After a press conference and worship service in Washington, D.C., leaders of historically African-American Methodist churches, that are member churches of the World Council of Churches (WCC), suggested that churches worldwide keep the momentum of a “Liberty and Justice for All” movement by investing in young black men, as well as planning steps that will change policies that propagate racism.
The three texts are: Male Investment Plan: a strategic prayer and outreach movement on behalf of the African-American male; Action Items: a list of policy changes and other items that churches will use to call upon the Obama Administration, the Congress, governors and state legislatures to act and Social Action Guide: a text to assist churches as they seek to do God’s will while worshipping, witnessing and promoting justice.
“The initial step is making a conscious decision that you are going to fully engage and participate in this process,” said Dr Staccato Powell, pastor of Grace AME Zion Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, and a member of the WCC Central Committee.
“We church types,” he said with a smile, “we are big on professing and short on practice.”
It is time for churches to engage and speak in a real way, not just verbally but through actions, he added.
This initiative is not meant to detract from the real needs of women in the African American community. Powell was asked, "What about the African American female? Is the male investment plan highlighted to the exclusion of girls and young women who are also targets of racist as well as sexist assaults?"
He replied, "I would be the first to admit that the question about women is a valid point and needs to be addressed. However, when it comes to this specific range of issues, we cannot afford to dilute or divert our focus from males. With the continued rise in attrition of males from institutions of learning in the lower levels, the diminution of those in institutions of higher learning, the increase of the incarceration rate, unemployment and so on, we have to maintain a clear focus. As much as we may argue for gender equity, the circumstances of these two groups are not the same."
Church is key to change
In many ways, churches are the key to change, said Powell. “People of faith are always the catalytic force that brings about transformation in society. I think history bears that out,” he said. “Not until people of faith decide ‘enough’ will things begin to change, and we can begin to demonstrate that in the way we conduct ourselves.”
The Male Investment Plan is based on the belief that the African-American male has become an endangered human being in the U.S. culture. “The greatest challenge we are facing in the African-American community today is the plight of the African American male,” states the plan. “What we realize is that the African-American male is not considered valuable in mainstream American culture; and that there is a cosmic conspiracy to destroy him. This cosmic onslaught is not about flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness in high places.”
The text is theologically underscored by Ephesians 6:12: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (New International Version)
Powell said he hopes these documents bring about not only awareness but a change of lifetime patterns. “Sustainability can only be gained when people are converted to a new way of operating, a new way of thought, a new way of engaging in what’s going on around them.”
Churches call for United States to confront racism (WCC news release of 8 September 2015)
The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 345 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 550 million Christians in over 120 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway.
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