The 43rd Annual Black Ministers Retreat held its annual gathering at Centennial Christian Church in St. Louis, MO on March 7 – 9, 2017. The theme of the retreat was “Transforming Clergy, Church and Community", scripturally grounded in Romans 12:2. This event brought together over 100 pastors and ministers, general ministry representatives and staff persons and more from across the United States to study, reflect, fellowship and more.
During the event, there were several opportunities to engage in continuing education, which is a requirement for standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). On Tuesday during the Preston Taylor Institute, all participants were blessed to participate in three continuing education workshops titled, “Theology of Transformation”, which was done in two sessions. The third session was titled, “Preaching For Transformation”. All three presentations, were taught and facilitated by Rev. Dr. Chris Dorsey, President of Higher Education and Leadership Ministries of the Christian Church. There were additional learning opportunities throughout the retreat as well, such as “Transforming Congregations”, facilitated by Rev. Dr. R. Wayne Calhoun, Executive For Evangelism and Congregational Care; “Leaders Who Transform the Church", facilitated by Rev. Denise Bell, Regional Minister of Georgia; “Transforming Clergy For Effective Ministry”, facilitated by Rev. Angela Whitenhill, Mental Health Initiative Manager for National Benevolent Association; “Transforming the Church Through Technology”, facilitated by Rev. Terrell McTyer (pictured), Minister of New Church Strategies of Hope Partnership; “Transforming Women Ministry”, facilitated by Rev. Chesla Nickelson, Program Director of Disciples Women; and “Your Pension Fund Programs”, facilitated by Rev. Aaron Smith, Director of Employer Services of the Pension Fund. In addition to the learning opportunities, all participants were blessed to be a part of wonderful worship experiences each morning and night. Rev. Dr. Delesslyn A. Kennebrew of Ray of Hope Christian Church, Atlanta, GA preached and led us in morning Manna all three days. She was excellent!
The evening preachers were the Rev. Dr. Robert Scott, Senior Pastor of St. Paul Baptist Church, a mega church in Charlotte, NC and Rev. Dr. William Curtis, Senior Pastor of Mt. Ararat Baptist Church, a mega church ministry in Pittsburgh, PA. All three speakers provided empowering, transformative, lifegiving and authentic preaching in the African American experience. During the worship services, one could readily see hands raised, hear foot stomping, hand’s clapping and the joyful noise of communal worship such as singing from the choir and congregants, and the shouting of “Amen! Say on! Preach! And Hallelujah!”
The Retreat was exciting and empowering. During the Retreat, the participants had the awesome privilege to meet and talk with Rev. Teresa Hord Owens, nominee for General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). There was a special prayer and laying on of hands called for Rev. Owens as she approaches the General Assembly and ministry to which she has been called. The prayer was led by Rev. Denise Bell, Regional Minister of Georgia. Special thanks goes out to the entire planning team of the Retreat; Centennial Christian Church, Pastor Derrick Perkins, their staff, and hospitality, greeters, van drivers and music ministries for ministering and providing hospitality to all the participants, and the Rev. Dr. William Lee, the Director of the Black Ministers Retreat for his leadership. To God be the glory for the things God has Done! The 44th Black Ministers Retreat location has yet to be determined. Stay tuned!
Thank you to Pastor Derrick Perkins for this story, and to him and Hope Partnership for the photos.