The board of the National Black Presbyterian Caucus (NBPC) convened at Radcliffe Presbyterian Church here Aug. 2-4.
The Rev. Arlene Gordon, president, called the meeting to order, beginning with an “Ode to NBPC” written by the late Rev. H. Eugene Farlough, Jr., reminding the board that NBPC is “a Caucus with a Cause, a History, a Tradition, a Mission, and a Goal.”
Gleaning from an article written by the Rev. Lawrence Bethel and the Rev. Otis Turner titled “A Vision of the National Black Presbyterian Caucus,” Gordon began her presentation on her expectations for the board’s time together.
Those present were asked to reflect on the duties and responsibilities of the board as leaders, welcoming the work to which God had chosen and called them. They were then requested to focus wholeheartedly on a number of urgent issues for the NBPC as it relates to congregations and the communities in which we live.
Some of the issues discussed:
- Is our purpose and vision still relevant in the context in which we live?
- How will we address with urgency the issues facing our congregations and communities?
- How will we help congregations grow spiritually and nurture and model our relationship with God through practices and values?
- How will the caucus assist in the process of providing pastoral leadership for every black congregation?
- What will we do to promote effective programs of ministry and mission?
- How will we involve children, youth and young adults in the life and work of our caucus and our congregations so that we build a solid foundation on which they can stand and be prepared for leadership?
- How will we be sensitive to, value, and utilize our elders as we preserve the past yet move into the present and future?
The two days of discussion around these and other issues resulted in a revised mission and purpose statement and reconfiguration of the board’s responsibilities. A task force will also be appointed to begin dialogue toward inclusion of all persons of African descent and others as welcome participants in NBPC.
In response to this year’s 220th PC(USA) General Assembly, the board will propose several projects to NPBC regions and chapters that show a commitment to the creation of 1,001 new worshiping communities in the next 10 years. This movement also hopes to allow existing worshiping communities to flourish.
Specifically, NBPC will:
- Work with the Office of African American Congregational Support to strengthen congregations spiritually and to provide pastoral leadership and opportunities for new church developments in African American communities.
- Develop a middle school years emphasis for black boys and girls (ages 8-13).
- Celebrate young people who have overcome adversity.
- Address the issue of the “prison pipeline.”
- Support the HIV/AIDS Project at Johnson C. Smith Seminary.
- Continue our mission projects through the African Connection.
- Focus on training of youth advocates and leaders.
- Implement the Freedom School program
More information will follow on the NBPC website and in regions and local chapters. Membership information is also on the website, and we invite you to join NBPC.