Let’s Do It Again! The Second
Annual Black Church Summit
Could NBJC could
have picked a more symbolically appropriate place for the second
annual Black Church Summit on than Philadelphia? Over 300 are expected
to attend at the historic Mother Bethel AME Church on Saturday, March
10th 9am- 5pm. Named after the Greek word for "brotherly love",
Philadelphia was founded (colonial slang for stolen or taken from
Indians) by William Penn who was a Quaker, one of the few white institutions
which vehemently opposed the enslavement of Africans. It is also
the birthplace of the U.S. Declaration of Independence which consigned
all "men" equal and endowed by their Creator with unalienable
rights. As the city of brotherly love
in the land of promises flawed and broken, it is quite a fitting
locale for the event. Basically, this summit seeks
to reconcile Black homosexuals and other sexual and gender outlaws
with the largely homophobic and heterosexist Black Church through
reformation and re-education.
Forty years ago, Martin Luther King charged that through its fabled
declaration, "America has given the Negro people a bad check,
a check that has come back marked "insufficient funds." While
the U.S. has made minimal progress, it has far to go to make good
on that note. The ironies of history have shown the very same institution
that once held the moral authority to indict America has become itself
a "morally bankrupt" and self righteous overseer of those
for whom it was built to liberate. Black places of worship across
the land continue writing hot checks without penalty or accountability.
Black queer folk and progressive heteros are just beginning to join
voices and coalesce to serve the tarnished institution its overdue
Last year’s Atlanta summit at First
Iconium Baptist Church featured the legendary Rev.
Al Sharpton, whose traditional Black pastor cadence often voices
radically anti-homophobic stances shunned by his fellow clergy
leaders. Sharpton’s keynote sharply rebuked the hypocrisy
of cultural homophobia and roused the nearly 200 in attendance.
But is was the luminous Bishop Yvette Flunder who brought them
all home in a speech that challenged Black lgbt people to confront
bigoted Black churches and to check ourselves regarding the internal
hostilities and leader hating that poisons our own hearts and communities.
This years roster is headlined by another progressive heterosexual
Michael Eric Dyson whose address is entitled "The Theology
of Homoeroticism". Joining Dyson will be fellow keynote speaker
Rev. Deborah Johnson, Bishop
Flunder, the sagacious Rev.
Irene Monroe. Black AIDS guru Phill
Wilson and Atlanta’s Rev.
Kenneth Samuel among others. I pray that Rev. Monroe will continue
to encourage summit attendants to critically evaluate the fundamental
patriarchal structure and doctrine of Black church. I admire Rev.
Monroe for refusing to overlook the misogynist and sex-negative values
of the Church and the Bible by revising and reinterpreting either
to include gays. Unlike many of our pundits, Monroe seriously questions
the quality of the house at whose gates we stand demanding entry!
See below for more information.
return to mywerks