CATEGORY: Presbyterian Church (USA)

A Butterfly Beginning

We must learn to wrestle like Jacob at Jabbock with our intersectional sins, known as race, class, and gender, that keep us from seeing the humanity of the individuals for whom we took a constitutional oath to call colleague. If the church is become the loving community God created it to be, we must allow ourselves to embrace the beautiful, yet never ending, struggle of becoming our better selves.

Changing the Perception

The PCUSA is fighting a historic battle with how African Americans worship. We are a highly educated, financially charged, and white institution trying to attract a historically oppressed, undereducated, financially underserved people.

Plenty Good Room at the Table

It still holds true that no resolution from General Assembly will immediately reverse nor empower black congregations to alter bad actions that have caused the black Presbyterian presence and voice around Presbyterian tables to be minimized. Neither this resolution nor the criticism of the resolution will transfigure a system that allows black congregation shrinking numbers.

The Church that is Becoming

Our denomination is still predominately White; therefore, at best we can make sure that Black people are represented on all committees. However that will not resolve the racist, sexist, or even patriarchy that is foundational to the way we have done and still do things. Further, “raising awareness” about the decline of Black congregations does nothing to address the systemic causes related to the reduction of Black congregations.

Black and Presbyterian

It has been my experience that resolutions occurring at the national level of the church do not trickle down and do not have tangible impact at the local level. Despite the resolution’s merit in naming the diminution of black Presbyterian congregations as a significant problem, it does virtually nothing to stem the tide.

A Confession for This Moment

If I really believed all the things I claimed in that article, then we needed a confession to address the world and the church and claim our hope in God for this particular moment.

NEXT Church Denominational Listening Campaign Report

In fall 2015 – winter 2016, NEXT Church embarked on a denominational listening campaign. We invited and trained people who have been leaders within NEXT Church to host a listening session with church leaders around questions of “transformational mission.”