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.
The caucus meets quarterly on Sundays at 3 PM.
2018 BMCR-related Events
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
2017 BMCR-BUMP scholarship luncheon
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.
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.
By the Rev. Shayla Johnson
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
(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
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:
OTHER NEWS of CONCERN
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.
[Read the BU Today April 3 article, MLK Was a Man, Not Just an Icon]
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 (Boston University) April 3 article, MLK Was a Man, Not Just an Icon
“Gently used robes, collars, shirts, and stoles are needed by my clergy brothers and sisters in Africa,” Bishop Peggy Johnson reports in a recent appeal for donations of clergy attire. “I would like to fill two suitcases full of gently used clerical apparel to give to my episcopal colleagues at the Council of Bishops meeting the end of April. All donations may be brought or sent to the Episcopal Office in the Eastern PA Annual Conference office in Valley Forge by April 23.”
Want to add a special greeting to enhance your apparel donation? Insert your personal or church business card with a few words of prayer or blessing or just a greeting to fellow, African clergy. Write it in English, French or Portuguese. (Search online for a language translation.) Nothing larger (or heavier) than a business card please.
Black UM college choir to visit Phila. May 13
The choir of Clark Atlanta University (CAU), one of the UMC’s 11 Black College Fund institutions, will perform in Philadelphia May 13, 7 PM, at historic Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, 519 South Sixth Street, Philadelphia, PA. The university is among
The celebrated choir, under the direction of Curtis Everett Powell, will perform in six states during its annual spring tour, May 11-19. The itinerary includes: Augusta, GA; Washington, DC; Philadelphia, PA; Harlem, NY; Raleigh, NC; and Greenville, SC.
“For more than a century, the CAU Choirs have given voice to the hopes, joys, trials, and triumphs of people around the world,” writes Dr. Powell. “We invite you to support the arts and students of CAU with your attendance.” All concerts are free and open to the public.
1.25 CEU’s will be offered for pastors wanting to use this conference as an opportunity for continuing education. To register for Facing the Future 2018, visit www.facingthefuture2018.com.
Youth in all Jurisdictions are invited to participate in the