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Forum for Black Millennials gives insight into issues that cause disconnect

Four members of the new generation of church leaders are scheduled to appear online on Nov. 10

by Gail Strange | Presbyterian News Service

Gene Burke, operations director of The Common Place in Philadelphia, will moderate the Nov. 10 forum.

LOUISVILLE — The African American Intercultural Congregational Support ministry encourages individuals to register for the inaugural “Black Millennials and the Church” forum scheduled for 7 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, Nov. 10.

You may now register for this initial forum by clicking here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the meeting.

This the first in a series of Black Millennial listening forums where the church will have the opportunity to listen, understand and learn about perspectives on the future of ministry and mission from a new generation of church leaders.

The forum also provides an opportunity for the broader African American church to gain insight into those issues that often prove to be disconnects between African American Millennials and the church.

Gene Burke, the operations director of The Common Place in Philadelphia, will moderate the forum. The Common Place, a network of community partners and the Salt & Light Community Church, seeks to offer holistic care to the children and families of Southwest Philadelphia.

The event fits into a greater goal of the National Black Presbyterian Caucus (NBPC), which is working to build a roadmap for the church to move forward with African American young adults.

“During the planning and preparation for the virtual Forum for Black Millennials on the Vision of the Future Church, the participants agreed that there is a need and desire for the voices of youth and young adults to collectively be heard if the church is serious about changing the narrative of having little or no participation from the next generation of Black Presbyterians,” said Lynne Foreman, a mission engagement advisor with Mission Engagement & Support and the Youth and Young Adult Advisor on the board of directors of NBPC.

Lynne Forman

Lynne Foreman

Foreman says as membership in the African American Presbyterian Church continues to decline, there is an alarmingly low number of youth and young adults who remain active in local congregations, leaving a future filled with uncertainty.

She commented that forum participants were very clear: There is more required to help fuel the youth and young adults of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) with new insights and a refreshed inspiration to show up unapologetically as their authentic selves.

The Rev. Michael Lynn Moore

“The Black Millennial virtual forum is an intergenerational event,” said the Rev. Michael Lynn Moore, Associate for the African American Intercultural Congregational Support Ministry. “This event will allow us to highlight dynamic African American Millennial panelists and their views, perspectives and visons on the future of the church.”

“There is clearly an intergenerational disconnect and division on several levels, which presents an opportunity for the church to reimagine and make a commitment for Generation Y, Z and Alpha to begin feeling the hope and encouragement that is needed to bridge all the divides,” Foreman said.

Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries is working alongside the NBPC to listen, empower and strengthen future generations. Additional conversations will be held during the 2022 Intergenerational Leadership Summit Series, which will take place four times throughout the year beginning in February.

“The series will provide the opportunity to go deeper and gain more insight and perspective while equipping young leaders with a blueprint to fully participate and make an impact in their local congregations and the world, no longer underrepresented, generating excitement, awareness and a lasting purpose,” said Foreman.

Panelists include:

The African American Intercultural Congregational Support Office assists the PC(USA) in addressing the needs of African American congregations. It works in partnership with mid councils to nurture conversations and facilitate ministries that will transform African American churches into more vibrant and healthier congregations.

The office emphasizes principles that will encourage, nurture, support, motivate, equip and empower leaders and disciples of Jesus Christ to become more intentional about engaging in spiritual practices that nurture a transformational spirituality and lead toward transforming communities into the Beloved Community or the realm of God on Earth.

In the PC(USA) there are approximately 460 predominantly African American congregations and an estimated 80,000 African American Presbyterians.

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