My Werks


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 notice.

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 brother, Rev. 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.

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