BMCR is the organized Black caucus of The United Methodist Church. We are one of the United Methodist denomination’s five U.S.-based racial-ethnic caucuses. National BMCR represents and is dedicated to the interests of more than 2,400 Black United Methodist congregations and approximately 500,000 African American members across the United States.
HISTORY: The idea for an ethnic caucus that addressed the concerns and needs of the Black constituency of the newly merged United Methodist Church (UMC) emerged in 1967 from conversations among a cadre of top black Methodist Church leaders. In March 1968 they convened a National Conference of Negro Methodists; but they adjourned as the new Black Methodists for Church Renewal. It was at this conference that the words “Our time under God is now,” were spoken by Dr. Ernest Smith. Those prophetic words later became the motto of BMCR, and they are as relevant today as when they were uttered 50 years ago.
Philadelphia BMCR represents important interests and concerns of Black United Methodist members and churches of the Eastern PA Conference (located primarily in the Philadelphia region). We are an official, affiliated body of the Eastern PA Annual Conference and a conference affiliate of the National BMCR caucus.
By the Rev. Shayla L. Johnson*
Chairperson, Black Methodists for Church Renewal, Philadelphia Caucus
The Eastern PA Conference caucus that represents African American members and churches has been actively supporting education and disaster response in 2019.
Philadelphia Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR) and Black UM Preachers (BUMP) awarded scholarships to new collegians at their joint annual scholarship luncheon, June 22. While these luncheons have been held at the Conference Center in Audubon in recent years, we decided to return this year to a local church setting. The site was Eastwick UMC in Philadelphia.
Scholarship awardees Christian Neal and Nahema Maruis are both members of Eastwick UMC… Continue Reading
BMCR/BUMP College Scholarships
BMCR collaborates with Black United Methodist Preachers (BUMP) to fund and award college and university scholarships annually to deserving graduating high school seniors who are active members of our churches.
We sponsor a yearly joint BMCR/BUMP Scholarship Luncheon, where we present students and their families with these vital financial aid awards, along with valuable words of wisdom and support from their pastors and Eastern PA Conference leaders.
We rely on BMCR-member churches to support and participate in this program by donating to the scholarship fund and recruiting applicants from among their memberships
Hurricane Disaster Recovery Support
BMCR is raising funds to support recovery efforts in the wake of multiple, devastating 2017 hurricanes that struck communities in the U.S. Southeast (Florida and South Carolina) and Southwest (Texas and Louisiana) regions and U.S. territories in the Caribbean. Many disadvantaged communities with Black and other racial-ethnic residents reportedly have been neglected and underserved in recovery efforts. Our donations and fundraising receipts will be divided three-ways and sent to our friends in the Southeastern and South Central jurisdictional BMCR caucuses and to the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico, by way of the Eastern PA Conference’s Helping Puerto Rico Rise Again Campaign.
Eastern PA Conference Call to Action Initiative
BMCR is a partner in the Eastern PA Conference’s initiatives to fulfill the Call to Action resolution endorsed by annual conferences and bishops at the 2016 Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference. That NEJ resolution calls on each conference to make significant efforts to confront and undo the “culture of racism and white privilege” that prevails and to “heal wounds of internalized oppression” by seeking “systemic fundamental and institutional change both within the church and the world…” We collaborate in such efforts as the Racial Justice Transformation Project (aka Butterfly Project), involving a institutional racism assessment of conference policies, protocols, actions and relationships.
BMCR supports and promotes various ministries and events important to Black congregations and to the development and representation of Black leadership across the conference. These include special worship, fellowship and discipleship events; relevant convocations and training events; and concerted social action to address important issues. We also promote Philadelphia Mission Connexion events and the ministry of the Philadelphia United Methodist Mass Choir.
BMCR Philadelphia Coordinator The 51st General Meeting of National Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR), March 13-17, in Sacramento, Calif., drew a smaller attendance than the 500 who came to the 2017, 50th anniversary meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio. About 162 registered persons attended this year’s meeting, where there was less pomp and circumstance but nonetheless, important matters and decisions to consider, along with celebrative worship and fellowship. Read more
BMCR Phila caucus extends praise and congratulatory blessings to our graduates:
Krystl Johnson (top photo) of St. Daniels UMC in Chester
Masters of Science in Counseling from Carin University
Rev. Shayla Johnson (bottom photo, left), Pastor of Mother African Zoar UMC in Philadelphia, Masters of Divinity from Palmer Theological Seminary
Rev. Dr. Quentin Wallace (bottom photo, right), Pastor of Calvary UMC in Lancaster, Doctorate of Ministry from Palmer Theological Seminary
(UMNS)–Black Methodists for Church Renewal recently gathered here in a mood of gratitude, but also of anticipation. “We give thanks for the past 50 years … but God is declaring there is a next level in our future,” said the Rev. Antoine “Tony” Love, the group’s vice chairman… Read more
Reflections on BMCR’s 51st General Meeting, By the Rev. Shayla Johnson
Conference to examine its institutional racism
Let’s talk about racism. Many in the Eastern PA Conference have been doing that for years, and even more intensely the past few years. But now, thanks to efforts to fulfill the Call to Action resolution endorsed by annual conferences and bishops at the 2016 Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference, our talk about racism is about to go deeper, further, and become more intentional and evaluative.
The Eastern PA and Peninsula-Delaware conferences have co-employed organizational consultants Dragonfly Partners to conduct structural, or institutional, racism assessments with each conference separately. They will use candid, in-depth discussions with groups of racial-ethnic members and also key conference leaders. Philadelphia BMCR is helping to lead this project and encouraging invited leaders to participate in the critical discussions. Learn more…
Read and share the Northeastern Jurisdiction Call to Action Resolution & Our Response:
Susan Angeline Collins was an early trailblazer for United Methodist women. In the years following the U.S. Civil War, Collins went to college and became a successful business owner. All before answering her call to serve the Methodist Church in missions to Africa.
Transcript: (Voice of Carolyn Johnson, Director of Diversity for Purdue University) “To really make long-lasting, impactful, transformative change, generally it takes about a generation. And she gave a generation of her life.” Read more
A letter from the Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell, former Eastern PA Conference clergy member, to BU Today, a Boston University publication. Also, quoted in the article is the Rev. David Briddell, another Eastern PA Conference clergy member and friend of Dr. King.
Martin Luther King Jr. was 39, and I was 34, when he was assassinated 50 years ago. This morning I realized that for 50 years I have been living with the disorder called Post- Traumatic Stress. My stress was caused by the killing of our “Drum Major for Justice,” and has surfaced anew since the departure of President Barack Obama from the White House.
Dr. King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Injustice today seems to be everywhere! My hope and prayer are that at last, persons are realizing that the assumptions, attitudes and actions that justified the slavery and segregation of black people are contagious and are alive and well far beyond anti-black racism.
I did not cry 50 years ago when Martin Luther King was assassinated. But this morning (April 4, 2018), as I write and share this, tears have surfaced as I remember him. I live in a nation and world, and belong to a United Methodist Church, that seem to major in hate rather than love, discrimination rather than affirmation. Your posting and sharing this article in response to our remembering April 4, 1968, is in a small way, “Keeping Hope Alive”!
– Gil Caldwell
[Read the BU Today April 3 article, MLK Was a Man, Not Just an Icon]