The Christian Faith always gives rise to hope; a hope rooted in the foundation of the promises of God.
The African American church historically embodied the hope in the future of God’s promises.
The Black church was born in protest against the forc.es of tyranny, and oppression which sought to destroy Black humanity.
In the first quarter of the twenty-first century, the residual effects of slavery, Jim Crow laws and bigoted attitudes of many White Americans have recently morphed into a climate of fear and seeming innocuous policies which nevertheless infringe upon the rights of Black people: Stop and Frisk laws, the use of Stand Your Ground laws in the murder of a Black youth, Trayvon Martin, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and the use of Voter Identification laws to suppress minority voting in demographically Black majority election districts is both disturbing and offensive.
The dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King and many other Civil Rights warriors who shed their blood in the struggle for human rights have yet to be realized.
The crises which are manifested in Black communities across America must also be confronted. The rampant upsurges in the Black-on-black violence and crimes, the grave increase in AIDS and HIV, the extensive development in teenage pregnancy, the marked breakdown in family life, a double-digit unemployment rate, the concentration of poverty among urban minority populations, a predominance of Blacks incarcerated in America’s penal system, as well as a myriad of other social ills ranging from education to health issues calls for a unified Black church to step into this morass of Black human negation, and embrace and proclaim the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus the Christ. The Church must bring the Good News to bear not only on the starving, thirsting, jobless, imprisoned, sick, poverty stricken, and humiliated Black community but also seek to turn upside-down from the bottom, the entrenched wealthy purveyors of oppressive political, socioeconomic, and educational policies, practices and legal renderings which obstructs the aspirations of the poor and the despised.
The Black church in particular is called to be prophetic and priestly, evangelical, and celebratory.
With the Black community in crisis, we can no longer adopt a quietistic and insular approach to the agonized suffering of our people. We must be obedient and serve Christ and not a secular culture ensconced in prosperous individualism and theological relativism.
The United Christian Leadership Ministry of Western New York seeks to be obedient to the Lord of the Resurrection and the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, we covenant together to engage in a dynamic spiritual-cultural struggle to save the souls of Black people, to retake our communities from the dark and demonic socio-cultural forces of chaos which seek to assert itself against God’s Word.
We proclaim that Jesus is Lord over every dimension of life in this world. Realizing that Jesus the Christ is Pantocrator that is Lord of All, we therefore call upon churches in the community to unite around the divine power emanating from three trans-historical events: the Cross, the Resurrection and Pentecost.
We call upon church leaders to join us in the following:
- Pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to be manifested within us to end church divisiveness and to bring about a coalition of religious leaders to morally and spiritually uplift our community from the devastating social ills which impact our people through liberating faith, activism, partnerships and programs
- Seek to transform the moral climate in our community and participate in the community and participate in the commencement of the eradication of crime, drug addiction, prostitution, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, homicides, and all other ills which hinder our people from reaching their full potential
- Challenge governmental policies and practices, whether local, state, or federal which create foster, encourage, and impose a bigoted climate, policies, and laws, which negate the humanity of minorities. We will watch and observe that no one’s civil and human rights are violated
- Monitor and involve ourselves in our children’s education. Interact with youth, parents, educators, and school administrators and school board commissioners to ensure that our youth will receive a quality education. We must invest in our children
- Encourage the economic development of the Black community. Advocate the implementation of job training programs to fit the technological needs of the 21st century. Develop partnerships with labor unions to ascertain that minorities are trained and hired for jobs
- To do all we can to strengthen family life. To promote in cooperation with social agencies, proper and timely intervention and prevention strategies to help in the survival of families. We will focus on the salvation of Black men and women knowing they are the keys to healthy family development
- To partner with health professionals and medical entities to develop strategies of health awareness education, prevention and intervention in the community
- Implement non-partisan voter registration and education projects to develop political awareness
- Insure the fair treatment of African-Americans in the criminal justice and penal system
- Establish an academy or institute to train and develop leaders in the community. Such an institute would insure a resource of leadership trained in theology, biblical and African-American histories, politics, and community development
The United Christian Leadership Ministry of Western New York will partner with religious leaders, educators, businesses, health providers, labor unions, political and government officials to assist in the survival and robust growth of the community.
The United Christian Leadership Ministry of Western New York is committed to God’s messianic history of salvation and liberation. Liberating faith has to do with taking back our community from the fierce demonic strongholds which oppress it.
These strongholds must be overcome and dismantled through the church’s courageous witness centered in the Cross of Jesus and His Resurrection. They are destroyed by the Christian witness to the Lordship of Jesus not in the insular four walls of the church building but in the world, in the community where people are also in pain and sin and in need of redemption.