BMCR looks to the future

By Larry R. Hygh Jr.
MARCH 23, 2018 | SACRAMENTO, Calif. (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, to more than 225 of the organization’s members attending a national meeting in Sacramento, California, March 14-17.Love added: “God may be requiring us to leave behind the familiar. … God is saying, ‘Make room for possibility.’”

The Rev. Antoine “Tony” Love, vice chair of the Black Methodists for Church Renewal, delivers a keynote address during the opening plenary session of the March 14-17 BMCR meeting in Sacramento, California. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Love.

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.

Since its 1967 inception in Detroit, BMCR has consistently been the voice of black United Methodists and an advocate for the growth and development of black churches. 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.

The theme of this year’s conference was “The Journey Continues: Celebrating Our Faith, Hope, and Renewal.”

“We may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future. We believe God and we take God at God’s word,” Love said in his address to the group.

California-Nevada Conference Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño preached for the opening worship from Psalm 121 and 1 Peter 1:18-21.

“As United Methodists, can we not … be those who line up behind Christ Jesus who above all others shows us the way to life that is truth, mercy, compassion, and justice?”

Carcaño lifted up the stories of several prominent African-American United Methodist women, including Theressa Hoover, Mai H. Gray and Bishop Leontine T.C. Kelly.

“I can’t think of the witness of any man that tops the witness of these sisters. They are a witness to all of us, men and women,” Carcaño said.

Deborah Dangerfield, BMCR chair, said the group continues to “pray and move forward” in advocating for the interests and inclusion of black people in general church structures.

“There is still much work to be done, in order to live out BMCR’s vision and mission,” she added.

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