The Ebony Bishops of The United Methodists Church (African-American bishops serving in the United States) have called on the denomination to include African-American clergy and laity in the ongoing discussions on the future of the church, as they provide the unique voice of hope for the future, not only for the Black church but also for the unity of the entire denomination.
In a statement released October 21, 2019 by co-chairs Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling of Baltimore-Washington Conference and Bishop Leonard Fairley of Kentucky Conference, the Ebony Bishops said the voice of the Black church has, within its spiritual, historical, and theological DNA, a word that needs to be spoken into the current conversations being held throughout The United Methodist Church.
“Our witness is grounded in our experience of deliverance from enslavement, Jim Crow, the exclusionary practices of The Central Jurisdiction and the ongoing discrimination in our world,” the statement said, adding:
“The Black church understands the prophetic witness required in liminal spaces, spaces of the already and the not yet. Our faith, praise, stewardship, and disciple-making focus did not and have not wavered, even as we yet await full justice and righteousness both within and without the church. The brokenness of our world and denomination can benefit from this steadfast experience and voice.”
The statement by the Ebony Bishops was written after a recent forum that the bishops hosted for key leaders in the Black Church in the United States. The Ebony Bishops also released five points and issues that were identified as cardinal to black leadership at the forum.