Are Black Churches Dead?
Associate Vice President of Student Affairs
Rev. Robert Morton
Administrator, Student Conduct, Rights & Responsibilites
The roots of churches in the black community run deep. The speakers start their presentation by relating the history of black churches. The first such congregation was started in Philadelphia in 1787 by black Christians who felt marginalized when they attended white churches. The church developed further in the antebellum south, attended by many former slaves. Both speakers are members of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) in Chico – “African” symbolizes heritage, “Methodist” indicates the theology of John Wesley, founder of Methodism, and “Episcopal” describes the church’s leadership structure. Today, the speakers note, black churches struggle with attendance and some critics argue that they have lost their prophetic voice, which has been fueled by their view of Jesus Christ as liberator. The speakers also discuss church attitudes toward LGBT people. However, they feel the black church can still have a role in society.
Recorded: February 21, 2018