African-Americans contributing to the Church

African-Americans are a vital part of the tapestry of The United Methodist Church. They have played important roles in the development of the denomination in the United States since 1758.

A service of appreciation at the 2004 General Conference celebrated African-American contributions, witness, and presence within the denomination and recognized “those who stayed” in spite of racism.

Today Black Methodists for Church Renewal represents more than 2,400 black United Methodist congregations and approximately 500,000 African-American members in the United States.


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Social Concerns
The Rev. Rudy Rasmus, senior pastor at St. John’s Downtown Church in Houston and editor of the book “I’m Black. I’m Christian. I’m Methodist,” attends a food bank event with the singer Beyoncé, who grew up in that church. Photo courtesy of St. John’s Downtown Church in Houston.

Black United Methodists want changes

Black United Methodists are pushing for change in the denomination, and they aren’t interested in waiting much longer, according to a new book of essays.
Local Church
The Rev. William Bobby McClain speaks during the 2019 meeting of Black Methodists for Church Renewal in Atlanta. McClain, an original board member of the church's African-American caucus and professor emeritus at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, died Nov. 18. He was 82. File photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

McClain, theologian and civil rights leader, dies at 82

The Rev. William Bobby McClain, a civil rights leader and one of the founders of The United Methodist Church’s black caucus, died at 82.
Mission and Ministry
Mistrust of the medical community has resulted in a shortage of African Americans willing to be research subjects for COVID-19 vaccine trials. United Methodist leaders in Louisiana are participating in COVID-19 studies in hopes of influencing more Black people to do the same. Coronavirus image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; syringe image by Arek Socha, courtesy of Pixabay; graphic by Laurens Glass, UM News.

Black people sought for COVID-19 vaccine trials

United Methodist leaders are encouraging Black church members to volunteer for vaccine trials to help fight the coronavirus.