Feb 26, 2015

As the U.S. marks the 50th anniversary of many landmarks in the civil rights movement, www.UMC.org features stories about heroic people and historic events and concerns that we recognize especially during Black History Month. The denomination’s official Website, operated by UM Communications (UMCom), offers an updated and re-issued series featuring prominent United Methodists who shared the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s timeless dream for America and all humanity. 

“Each piece offers a unique perspective and beautiful insights about the lessons this leader gave to those who knew or knew of him,” writes UMCom video producer Jan Walsh. You can find the whole series at the friendly URL: www.umc.org/mlk. It is featured also on the Special Coverage tab in the News and Media section of the site.

Also, be sure to view and share with others UMC.org’s two recent short videos that recount the stories of two historic Philadelphia UM churches, Mother African Zoar and Tindley Temple. They too are offered in celebration of Black History Month, along with a short video about Annie Sweitzer, an African-American slave who is considered one of America’s first Methodists. She was a member of the first class that met at the New Windsor, Md., home of Robert Strawbridge, America’s first Methodist lay preacher, years before the American Revolution.

Methodist History: Mother African Zoar’s Legacy

More at http://umc.org/videos. The congregation of Mother African Zoar United Methodist Church has a long history of service to the city of Philadelphia. In 220 years, the church has been a stop on the Underground Railroad; a place where African Americans could find healthcare, home loans, and an education; and a spiritual home for countless families. This strong community of faith has seen the creation of five more churches over the years. Members say this “Mother Church” is more than a historical landmark. It is a place that is as vital today as it ever was. “It is still key to bringing a community together,” says church member, Betty Henderson. http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/methodist-history-mother-african-zoars-legacy

Tindley Temple: A Highlight of Methodist History

More at http://umc.org/videos. When you step through the doors of Tindley Temple United Methodist Church in Philadelphia, you are on hallowed ground. See the sanctuary and the pews built by generations of dedicated former slaves and free men. And stand before the grand pipe organ in a birthplace of gospel music. Most people have never heard of the Methodist composer and preacher, the Rev. Charles Albert Tindley, but his lyrics became one of the most recognizable songs of the American civil rights movement in the 1960s, ‘We shall overcome.’ “Wow. Now, you want to talk about being proud to be Methodist, that’s a reason to be proud to be Methodist,” says current Tindley pastor, the Rev. Robert Johnson.  http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/tindley-temple-a-highlight-of-methodist-history

Methodist History: Slave welcomed as one of first members

More at http://umc.org/videos. Years before the American Revolution, Methodism arrived in the New World. The first classes met at the home of Robert Strawbridge and his wife in New Windsor, Maryland. Included in that group of early believers was an African-American slave named Annie Sweitzer. Sweitzer is considered one of America’s first Methodists. Even then, the denomination was known for open hearts and open doors. “She (Annie Sweitzer) was welcomed there. She was not there as a slave, as an African-American. She was there as one more person opening her heart to Christ,” says the Rev. Jim Talley with the Strawbridge Foundation. http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/methodist-history-slave-welcomed-as-one-of-first-members