Published on December 21st, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff0
Historic African American Denominations Call for Cross Racial Dialogue
(Charleston, S.C.)—The Conference of National Black Churches released a statement at the conclusion of their 2015 National Consultation, “The Healing of our Nation: Race & Reconciliation,” which focused on race and reconciliation. The statement calls the member churches of the eight historically African American denominations, along with sister denominations from predominantly White traditions, to intentionally engage in dialogue, worship and ministry efforts together as a mechanism for reconciliation and to tear down the lingering vestiges of racism that are so pervasive in American society. In addition, the statement calls out the hateful rhetoric currently coming out of the presidential campaigns and urges African Americans to register and vote in 2016.
According to the statement, “There is a pernicious “Value Gap” between black and brown lives and the lives of our white brothers and sisters in America that demands an end to the sin of silence, apathy, and cultural co-opting of the contemporary church. The CNBC refuses to betray our legacy of spiritual transformation inextricably connected to social activism. We have throughout our history, and continue to affirm, that Scripture must be viewed through a hermeneutical lens of justice and liberation.”
Nearly 300 people have gathered in Charleston this week for the Consultation, which has included speakers who addressed racial hatred, white privilege, poverty, gun violence, mass incarceration and the criminal justice system as well as racism in the church and the road to reconciliation. Those gathered engaged in “truth-telling” and honest dialogue about how to root out institutional, individual and internalized racism. A corporate worship service at Mother Emanuel AME Church, where the massacre of nine faithful worshipers in June by a white assailant who wanted to start a race war, set the tone for participants in the National Consultation to begin a new era of cross-racial dialogue and to come up with new solutions for the pervasive impacts of racism in America.
The CNBC has issued a three-year initiative to engage in cross-racial dialogue on the local level in partnership with sister denominations, to work with seminarians to come up with new solutions for ending racism and to continue to fight the systems that continue to perpetuate racism and inequality for African Americans.