Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton, Chair
Cheryl Stevenson, National Coordinator
September 19, 2005


Like so many others, Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century Coordinating Committee (SBC-21) created by General Conference, urges the whole church to do its best for the victims and survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Katrina, along with human mistakes and grievous human error leaves behind untold suffering and loss.  Months and years will pass before affected families, churches, the Gulf Cost, and our nation will recover.  Undaunted by what appears to be “Mission Impossible” to the least and the lost notwithstanding the African-American Community, the SBC-21 Coordinating Committee requests that the whole church join them in praying monthly for the victims of Katrina, for their care givers, institutional and personal, sacred or secular, for the strength to persevere in this ministry of compassion for as long as it takes.  In response to the prompting of God at our September 16th to 18th meeting, members of the SBC-21 Committee report the following:

  • We celebrated the response of hundreds of our churches to the call of UMCOR for financial gifts;
  • We acknowledged the work of black churches with Katrina victims who happen to be Congregation Resource Centers in the SBC-21 General Church Initiative, e.g. Windsor Village and St. John’s in Houston, Texas, St. Luke “Community” in Dallas, Texas, and Theressa Hoover in Little Rock, Arkansas;
  • We agreed to collaborate with the Ebony Bishops, the National Black Staff Forum and National BMCR in our mission and ministry to Katrina victims;
  • We reshaped a component of our Congregation Resource Center Training Summit, September 30-October 1, 2005 in Dallas, Texas, to include a special emphasis on Katrina;
  • We established a Disaster Task Force within SBC-21 to support and empower the long term ministry of both Partner Congregations and Congregation Resource Centers to the needs of persons devastated by Katrina;
  • We were scheduled to meet at Gulfside Assembly in Mississippi, February 9-10, 2007.  Katrina destroyed the facilities.  Therefore, SBC-21 committed itself to meet in New Orleans and visit the historic site.

As the September 9, 2005 Press Release issued by National Black Methodists for Church Renewal, Inc. declared, “NOW IS THE TIME FOR US TO LOVE OUR NEIGHBORS AS WE LOVE OURSELVES.”



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