Video honors a ‘founding father’ of Phila. church and gospel music

Did you know the hope-filled anthem “We Shall Overcome” has roots in Methodism? A new UM Communications online video showcases the Rev. Charles Albert Tindley, an iconic Methodist preacher and hymnist known as one of the founding fathers of gospel music. It also features historic Tindley Temple UMC, the Philadelphia congregation he brought to prominence. The video, at www.umc.orgis an ideal offering to share with your church during Black History Month.

A second video about Philadelphia’s Mother Zoar UMC, the oldest continuing black United Methodist congregation, will be featured on www.umc.orgthe denomination’s official Website, later this month.

UMCom shot scenes and interviews at both churches last August, after videotaping at nearby historic St. George’s UMC. Black members of St. George’s left the church to escape racism in 1796 and established African Zoar, which later gave birth to five churches, including the one that eventually became Tindley Temple.

Watch the UMTV Tindley Temple video and post a comment!

Also, for a fond remembrance of our predecessor, pioneering all-African American Delaware Annual Conference be sure to read “First,” Bishop Peggy Johnson’s informative, inspiring new essay on her Bishop’s Blog (and in the upcoming Winter issue of NEWSpirit). She recalls the historic sunrise and sunset of this great institution, a significant part of our Methodist heritage and Black church history.  And she explores profoundly the concept of being “First” from biblical, cultural and Christian viewpoints. It’s a compelling reflection worth reading, pondering and discussing with others.

What will your church do to observe Black History Month during (or after) February? Will you celebrate it in worship, Christian education, bulletin board displays, church newsletters, or sponsor a special commemorative program? Please write to us and let us know at communications@epaumc.orgWe want to report in our media on some exemplary celebrations before and after. Send us information and photos if you can. (And we’ll be asking for the same consideration during Women’s History Month in March, Asian-Pacific Islanders Month in May and Hispanic/Latino and Native American heritage months later this year.) We encourage all churches to celebrate our national heritage months and the various groups that make up our United Methodist connectional family.