Is the Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR) Caucus Relevant Today? (The Answer is Yes.)
By Tabitha Munday
I hear this question often–black people in the Church and society have access to things that we did not have in the past; such as voting rights, desegregation, and better jobs–but do we have true equality? We do, to a certain extent. However, we still have a long way to go.
Let’s look at the state of the black United Methodist Church. Many small black churches struggle to stay open, pay apportionments, and grow their congregations. Why some churches have more resources than others—and how race may play a role—is an important and complex topic of discussion. So it is important to have a venue where we can discuss and advocate for the needs of the black church.
I am a young adult, but I have read the history of our caucus. In the book on BMCR’s history, Our Time Under God Is Now, the Rev. John G. Corry of Nashville, Tenn., writes that the caucus was created “to act as an agitating conscience on all boards and agencies of The United Methodist Church in order to keep them sensitive to the needs and expressions of a genuinely inclusive relevant church.”
In the 1960’s, BMCR took risks push for equal access and opportunities for black clergy and laity. Caucus leaders worked strategically toward desegregating the Church and fostering inclusivity at all levels. But full equity is still not the reality and social injustice exists. We see it in many cases, such as the shootings of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, in tensions between law enforcement and the black community, and in the reluctance of The United Methodist Church to address issues of race and class that affect people of God all around us. BMCR must continue to have a voice in our communities and advocate for justice for our race. Otherwise, our churches and our people will be left behind.
The future for BMCR is bright and we will continue to be the light that is needed to shine for those who feel they are not heard. We will assist in strengthening local black churches by listening to their needs, and planning a strategy for their future. Our purpose is to “empower black Methodists for effective witness and service among pastors and laity in local churches, conferences, schools, and the larger community” and to encourage and involve black Methodists and others in the struggle for economic and social justice.”
We need the support of everyone to continue the mission. Please visit our website and join BMCR today
Tabitha Mundy, a lifelong member of Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn., is the current president of the Tennessee Conference Black Methodists for Church Renewal and is also on the board of the Wesley Foundation at Tennessee State University. Mundy also serves as the chief operating officer for Music City Cleaners.