The Commission on Black Ministry was chartered in 2015 with priorities to include assessment and support for the unique needs of the historically Black congregations including the development of vocations and support of Black Ministries.
Members: Members: The members of the Commission include: Canon Annette Buchanan (chair); Canon Wendy Blackman; Mr. Marcus Gales; the Rev. Canon Andy Moore; Ms. Nataliece Moore; the Rev. Dr. Martin Oguike; Ms. Linda Shomo; the Rev. Canon James Wynn; Canon for Black Ministry, the Rev. Canon Deacon Clive Sang; Diocesan Senior Staff Liaison, the Rev. Canon Brian Jemmott.
Congregations We Serve: The historically Black congregations to whom our initiatives are directed include, St. Alban’s, New Brunswick, St. Augustine’s Camden, St. Thomas, Red Bank, St. Augustine’s, Asbury Park, Christ The King, Willingboro, St. Wilfrid’s, Camden, St. Mark’s Plainfield, St. Mary’s, Pleasantville, St. Augustine’s, Atlantic City, St. Elizabeth, Elizabeth.
Our Priorities and Accomplishments:
Civil Unrest Engagement: After the death of George Floyd, the COBM in collaboration with the Anti-Racism Commission, the Earl B. Scott chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians, the Black Clergy Caucus and Bishop Stokes we discussed racial justice priorities for the diocese. The results were the a)creation of a Reparation Taskforce to address this long overdue issue and b) the creation of an Urban Revitalization Taskforce to address the myriad social needs of the urban communities within which Black
congregations are located.
Pandemic Support for Black Congregations: During the pandemic we launched monthly meetings for Black congregations to share their concerns. As a result, we helped shepherd initiatives around Stewardship, Fundraising, Zoom training, Reentry to Churches, PPP Loans, Outreach Programs, and Building Maintenance. Bi-annual forums were previously presented to these congregations on topics such as Vestry 101, Youth Ministry, Evangelism etc. prior to the pandemic.
Youth initiatives: Black youth need special attention. In response, we co-sponsored a Zoom Vacation Bible School for youth across the diaspora. This experience and its potential led us to apply for an Evangelism Grant from the National Church to support youth programming throughout the year focused on cultural experiences and telling their story.
Advocacy for Black Congregations: Our major concern continues to be the viability and vitality of our Black congregations. Our monthly meeting includes the status of each congregation focusing on what support and interventions may be needed. We especially advocate for supplemental funding for congregations and clergy and will formalize that decision-making role in the diocese.
Support for vocations: We continue to advocate for Black Clergy, discussing at each meeting congregations in transition, support for new clergy and those in the process, expressing concern about the few in discernment and recently offered a forum entitled, I See Something In You: Encouraging the Gifts of Ordained Ministry.
For more information, please contact Canon Annette Buchanan.