By the Rev. Amiri Hooker
South Carolina United Methodists celebrated with Black Methodists for Church Renewal at the caucus’s annual meeting, held April 12-15.
The 56th general meeting of the BMCR was a time of information, insight and inspiration. This year, Black Methodists came together under the theme “Self-Realization: Knowing Our Purpose to Fuel Our Passion to Work Our Plan,” as derived from Jeremiah 29:11.
BMCR met in-person at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel and Suites, Pittsburgh Downtown, in Pennsylvania. Attendees came together to see dear friends again, to make new acquaintances and to engage in conversations that assist BMCR with raising up prophetic and spiritual leaders who will be advocates for the unique needs of Black persons in The United Methodist Church.
Dr. Candace Lewis, president and dean of Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, presented on Black United Methodists’ perspectives on the future of the UMC. Lewis noted that The Research Project found 69.9 percent of respondents want to remain affiliated with the UMC. Only 6 percent said they want to disaffiliate and join the Global Methodist Church (3 percent) or another denomination (3 percent).
Bishop Julius C. Trimble, resident bishop of the Indiana Area of the UMC, preached a powerful sermon on “Love and Justice and Breaking Decorum.” In the tradition of Dr. Martin King and others, he encouraged the need to sometime break man’s laws to respond to God’s higher laws of justice. He noted that he has a personal mission to encourage all people with the love of Jesus Christ to rise to their highest potential.
Also at the meeting, I encouraged attendees to adopt more than nine pieces of legislation as resolutions to go to the 2024 General Conference dealing with issues of race and BMCR concerns.
It was a successful and spirited meeting. From our gathering as a board on Tuesday until the BMCR dinner banquet on Friday, the Holy Ghost continuously provided personal attention to our work and witness. Each one of those moments helped us to recognize, if not realize, more fully our purpose, passion and plan.
As we look forward to our 57th General Meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio, next year, let us use this time to live into the prosperity, hope and future God has destined for BMCR across the globe.