Online International Black Clergy Conference Draws Hundreds
More than 390 Black clergy and laity of The Episcopal Church gathered online in mid-November of 2020 for the Office of Black Ministries International Black Clergy Conference, “The African Diaspora United: Woke and Ready to Go.”
Participants included Black clergy and lay leadership worldwide, representing the diversity of backgrounds and communities they serve. The conference was a thoughtful mix of live and recorded presentations designed to ensure that the complexity of Black clergy experiences was acknowledged and celebrated. Highlights included keynote presentations from The Rt. Rev. Rose Hudson-Wilkin, The Rt. Rev. Robert C. Wright, the 10th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, as well as The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop and primate of The Episcopal Church.
One of this conference’s goals was to create a regional network of Black clergy within each of the provinces, which can serve as a mentoring network to sustain and support the growth of Black clergy, parishes, and congregations. This is especially important in this time of the coronavirus pandemic, as Black congregations and parishes struggle to secure the resources to move to online worship for their churches and parishioners. To aid in the growth of this network, the conference organizers highlighted the Directory of Black Clergy and Congregations to expand coaching and mentoring programs, as well as support systems.
The conference convened through the Office of Black Ministries under The Rev. Canon Ronald Byrd Sr. with the support of a council of advisers and planning team. During the conference, Ron was designated as an honorary canon to All Saints Cathedral, The Episcopal Diocese of the Virgin Islands. The conference exceeded its participation goals, substantially extending the Office of Black Ministries’ reach and forging new partnerships to support The Church and its mission.