*The number of black churches in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has surged more than 80 percent in the last decade to 3,400 U.S. congregations, says BCNN1.com.
However, the number of African American missionaries remains tiny: Only 27 of the SBC’s 4,900 international missionaries are black.
*Los Angeles, CA – On Sunday, June 2, Reverend’s Russell Thornhill and Leslie Butke cut the ribbon officially opening the doors of the new home of the Unity Fellowship Church of Christ (UFC) in South Los Angeles.
Founded in 1982 by Archbishop Carl Bean during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the UFC Movement through the years has grown into a national ministry with the distinction of being known as a spiritual home for the Black same-gender loving and transgender community.
While all are welcome, the UFC has made a point of being the Black church where Black gays can find solace andworship as all of who they are regardless of what they look like or who they love.
Services will be held every Sunday at 11 a.m. at 9608 South Figueroa Street in Los Angeles. For more information, please visit unityfellowshipchurch.org or call (323) 938-8322.
*Dr. Victor Davis, a Baptist minister is sharing his perspective on the Black church in his ‘manual,’ “Ushering With A Mission.”
With insight from his African American congregation, Davis uses a non-traditional approach to give church leaders the tools they need to build the usher ministry. He presents a principle of growth that is biblically based, Christ-centered and missions-oriented.
Ushering With A Mission is a easy to read, hands on tools that explains the technical aspects of ushering, putting an emphasis on Bible study, prayer and personal evangelism. It was developed to help ushers become more devout and seek to better fulfill their roles.
Can I send you a copy of the book or arrange an interview with Dr. Davis?
*Prominent scholars will explore the current and future impact of the black church during a time of deep divisions in race, culture and religion at a Vanderbilt Divinity School conference April 3-5.
Vanderbilt’s Kelly Miller Smith Institute on Black Church Studies will host “The Black Church’s 11th Hour: The Promise of Our Ideals and the Realities of Our Time.”
“When one reflects upon the significance of this year – 2013 – it marks a particularly bittersweet moment in the history of the African American experience in the United States,” said Forrest Harris, assistant professor of ministry and director of the Kelly Miller Smith Institute on Black Church Studies. He noted that 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. It is also the 45th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death.
Read the full story at Vanderbilt.com.
*Writer Thomas Mambande discusses the matter of dealing with sexuality and homosexuality in the church in an opinion piece published on Afro.com:
As I read Reverend Lamar’s opinion piece (“Sex, Not Same-Sex Marriage, Should Be Topic of Debate”), my heart sank. For, while reading about the hypocrisy of the black church in America from the distance of my office in South Africa, I was reminded painfully of just how tragic are the ties that seem to bind us as black people around the world – particularly those of us who seek solace within the church. Blacks number among the most enthusiastic Christians on the planet, with Africa fast-becoming the seat of global evangelism. Yet, sadly, black churches and communities on the continent have grappled with sex and sexuality as poorly as their U.S. counterparts, with devastating consequences.
The parallels are as strong as they are disheartening. Homosexuality remains the focus of ire within the bulk of African churches and communities while frank, faith-based discussions on heterosexual conduct are largely ignored. Yet, on the continent as in the U.S., it is sex between men and women that yields a far greater impact on black life.
In Africa, heterosexual couplings are the main drivers of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. And the sole factor behind stubbornly and persistently high rates of unplanned pregnancy among young women. In these countries, the majority of which are wracked by widespread poverty, the burdens of sexually-transmitted disease and unwanted pregnancies place additional strain on communities that can ill afford them.
South Africa, the continent’s “Rainbow Nation,” brings into sharp and embarrassing focus not only the contrast in sexual trends between the races, but how such trends impact the different ethnic groups and the nation as a whole. A mirror image of the U.S. in many ways, South Africa is a country of great ethnic and racial diversity, yet one in which blacks are generally clustered at the bottom of society, economically as well by other criteria of life quality. Global recession notwithstanding, whites here continue to enjoy one of the highest standards of living on the planet, with Asians and mixed-race people tending to occupy various strands along the economic spectrum. And, in spite of pockets of religious diversity, a majority of South Africans refer to themselves as “Christians.” Just like the ‘good ‘ole U.S. of A. Not for nothing is South Africa often referred to as ‘the U.S. of Africa.’
Read more at Afro.com.