This Friday, Feb. 19, the nation’s three largest Black Methodist Church denominations (combined memberships of more than five million) will pay tribute to Black History Month by announcing the formation of a historic coalition and plans to hold a major strategy summit in Columbia, S.C., March 1-3.
It will be the first major gathering of predominantly Black Methodist denominations for the first time in 54 years.
Titled the “Great Gathering,” the strategy session will seek to alter the troubling history of African-American males by identifying and seeking unified solutions for the key issues that are devastating the African-American community. These debilitating factors include: incarceration; drug abuse; escalating unemployment; and high school dropout rates. The coalition believes a solid plan of action and the unified power of their faith, beliefs and commitment can bring significant change to the Black Community.
Participating leaders will include Senior Bishop John R. Bryant of the African Methodist Episcopal Church; Senior Bishop George W.C. Walker of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; Senior Bishop William H. Graves of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church; and U.S. House Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina.
The “Great Gathering” will bring together the senior bishops, politicians, church leaders, civic leaders, educators and others to develop initiatives to combat the myriad problems facing African-American males from ages 12-25.
Organizers of the event expect more than 6,000 attendees.