Black Methodist Denominations Announce Plans to Come Together to Help Black Males

The heads of the nation’s three largest Black Methodist Church denominations, with a combined membership of more than 5 million people, came together today and announced at a press conference at the National Press Club that they were forming a historic coalition to address the plight of Black men in this country.  They also announced plans to hold a major strategy summit and initiative introduction in Columbia, S.C., March 1-3, 2010.  

Titled the “Great Gathering,” that summit will include the leaders of the Black Methodist Churches –African Methodist Episcopal (AME), African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) and Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME).  The goal at the Great Gathering is to seek to alter the troubling history of African American males by identifying, developing and implementing unified solutions for the key issues that are devastating the African American family and community.

This is the first time in the 140+ years all three Black Methodist denominations have been in existence that these groups have come together to collaborate on a major initiative designed to address a crisis in their communities.  AME was founded in 1787, AMEZ was founded in 1796, and CME was founded in 1870.

Explaining the decision to join together, AMEZ Senior Bishop George W.C. Walker said: “We can do more together than we can do apart.”

The “Great Gathering” in Columbia, S.C., will bring together the senior bishops of each denomination, politicians, church leaders, civic leaders, educators and congregants from across the country to combat the myriad problems facing African American males, ages 12-25.

“We can’t look for government to do it,” said CME representative Rev. Dr. Paul Brown.  “We’re going to have to do it.”

AME Senior Bishop John R. Bryant said three denominations can focus as a collective to address painful issues, such as Black men missing from Black community life.  Bishop Bryant stated that when Black men are missing, “that weakens the family, our children the church and our men.”

Details of the program to help Black males will be unveiled March 3 at the “Great Gathering.”

Pictured: In a show of solidarity in advance of the Great Gathering, representatives of all three denominations convene after the press conference. Shown are (l to r), Bishop Warren M. Brown (AME Zion), Bishop George Walker (AME Zion), Bishop John R. Bryant (AME), Rev. Paul L. Brown, Sr. (CME) and Rev. Staccato Powell (AME Zion). (Photo by Jason Miccolo Johnson). (PRNewsFoto/Great Gathering).