Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR) - Why Membership is Important

June 23, 2021


By: Pamela Shoffner

With everything that's happening in our society and has been happening within the Church structure for years dating back before the merger of the Church, now more than ever ring true the words of Rev. Earnest Smith for not only Black United Methodists, but for ALL United Methodists, "Our Time Under God is Now." Right now is the time for all of us to really live out the meaning of unity so that the world will know that we are Christians by our love for one another!
 
BMCR is the organized Black caucus of The United Methodist Church, one of the denomination's five U.S.- based racial-ethnic caucuses. The caucus represents more than 2,400 Black United Methodist congregations and approximately 500,000 African-American members across the United States.
 
Nov. 20-21, 1967 in Detroit at the East Grand Boulevard Methodist Church, a group of Black Methodist leaders met and planned a National Conference of Negro Methodists, which occurred in March 1968 in Cincinnati, Ohio and when that conference ended, they had organized as Black Methodists for Church Renewal, Inc. They strategized and prepared for the end of racial segregation and the anticipated formation of the new United Methodist Church at the 1968 Uniting General Conference. BMCR has consistently been the voice of Black United Methodists and an advocate for the growth and development of Black churches. The mission of BMCR is to raise up prophetic and spiritual leaders who will be advocates for the unique needs of Black people in The United Methodist Church.
 
When The United Methodist Church was formed in 1968, the caucus effectively lobbied for the creation of the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race and the desegregation of The United Methodist Publishing House. BMCR also helped the denomination launch numerous landmark mission initiatives, including the Black College Fund (1970), the church-wide missional priority on Strengthening and Developing the Ethnic Minority Local Church (1976 to 1988), and Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century (1996).
 
The list of ministries created and continued, with the aid of BMCR include Africa University, Black College Fund, Gammon Theological Seminary, the African American Methodist Heritage Center, and the Minority Self- Determination Fund. The national organization encompasses sub-groups operating as local, conference, jurisdictional, and youth caucuses. These function as advocacy, ministry, and leadership development organizations.
 
Historically, the Black church is the center of the Black community and very careful consideration is given to the many social problems that affect not only the local Black church but also the Black community. Some examples of social issues that affect the Black community are unemployment and inadequate housing. Many of the issues have been present in the community for a number of years but they have also become even more crucial as time has passed.
 
BMCR continues to be a necessary force for change and accountability in the United Methodist Church today. This change and accountability spills over and benefits the Church’s global body. So much is still to be done. From this day forward our dedication must be deep, our commitment sure, and our action certain. God’s work and way are contemporary in every age. There is no waiting for tomorrow - expectations from our time to another. It is cowardly and without faith to cry that the situation will adjust itself. Our time under God is now!!
 
You’re invited to listen to a recent podcast with our current WNC BMCR Coordinator, Rev. Charlie Rivens along with the National Coordinator, Rev. Antoine Love, and Vice-Coordinator Ms. Deborah Bass hosted by Dr. Stephanie Moore Hand of the Metro District’s Sights and Sounds by clicking on the link here: https://www.wncumc-bmcr.org/news-2

You’re also invited to take a look at the current calendar of eventslist of officers and committees. Although all meetings have taken place virtually due to the pandemic, we are hopeful to return to the wonderful in-person fellowship shared by BMCR members and participants in the future. Some of these include quarterly meetings, the Annual Luncheon at Annual Conference, Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ) Youth Harambee, local caucus youth meetings and activities, Jurisdictional and National meetings, Black Church Symposium, Carolinas Clergy Retreat, Pastors of Black Churches Convocation, and more.

BMCR membership is important because:
  1. Of the foundational and historical values of the organization
  2. Of the opportunities for diverse collaboration to make the Church whole
  3. Of the need to continue increasing the vitality in Black churches and leadership in a predominantly White denomination

 
June marks the last month of our membership campaign although memberships are received throughout the year. Co-Membership Chairs, Ms. Polly Pearson and Mr. Hank Dozier are happy to hear from you at any time and to receive your membership which is an invitation that is open to ALL. Associate members (non-Black United Methodists) are encouraged to become a part of this work with us and journey alongside us to help make the United Methodist Church whole and be what God intended for us from the beginning. Learn more about membership and other information by visiting the website www.wncumc-bmcr.org/
 
Please join us and we’ll see you along the journey to wholeness as we become one as they are one! (John 14:20)
 
Learn more about the history of BMCR: http://bmcrumc.org/about/history/
 

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