TV series explores abiding power of Black church
The United Church of Christ is in “The Black Church.” The TV special, that is.
The four-hour documentary, airing this month on PBS, features several UCC ministers.
Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. wrote and created the series.
Six UCC ministers
The UCC is visible throughout as part of the wider Black church. Among many ministers and public figures on screen are:
- The Rev. Otis Moss III. He is senior pastor of Trinity UCC, Chicago, and was an advisor to the series.
- The Rev. Dwight Andrews. He is senior minister of First Congregational UCC, Atlanta, and was an advisor to the series.
- The Rev. Andrew Young. A member of First Congregational, Atlanta, he was part of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s core team in the 1960s. He was also, later, mayor of Atlanta and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
- The Rev. Jeremiah Wright. He is pastor emeritus of Trinity UCC, Chicago.
- The Rev. Yvette Flunder. She is founder and senior pastor of City of Refuge UCC, Oakland, Calif., and presiding bishop of the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries.
- The Rev. Traci Blackmon. She is associate general minister of Justice and Local Church Ministries. She was also pastor of Christ The King UCC, Florissant, Mo., through 2020, when her interview was filmed.
Wide range of topics
Their topics include the power of the pulpit, the role of music, the church as an agent of social and racial justice, and issues of women’s and LGBTQ inclusion.
“The Black church to me still remains the strongest demonstration of God with us that we have,” Blackmon says near the end of the documentary. She also offers a comment about the church’s historic local power — and a clue about its future.
“It is those small Black churches that have made the difference in our communities,” she says. “It is that strength that I want the church to tap back into.”
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