News Release – United Methodist Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st to Host COVID-19 Virtual Summit for Black Church Pastors, Laity and Non-Profit Leaders

MEDIA CONTACT: Toska Medlock Lee
(214) 729-6144

NASHVILLE, April 7, 2020 /SBC21/ – The United Methodist Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century (SBC21) expect to host more than 300 Black Church Pastors, Laity and Non-Profit Leaders for its first ever online conference 1:00pm – 2:30 pm CST, Thursday April 9.  Interim National Director Toska Medlock Lee said the Virtual Summit will bring to clarity the challenges facing the Black Church and its Community and will share practical resources to strengthen churches in the midst of uncertainties due to the national pandemic.

“Rev. Dr. Michael Bowie, Jr. the newly named incoming Director says, “COVID-19 has changed the game completely for all of us, and it is imperative that the Black Church equips itself for transformational leadership that will bring innovation, vision and creativity to this crucial time.  “I believe SBC21, along with many partners will be crucial to help strengthen black churches for greater discipleship and witness,” said Dr. Bowie.

Blacks are dying at a higher rate from COVID-19 than any other ethnic group, and the African- American community, in many cities, also appear to have the highest rate and chance of infection.  This Virtual Conference will have a speaker to discuss ways to help combat these concerns.  The meeting will offer three tracks of teaching and learning – INFORM, INSPIRE and IGNITE! Presenters will share information on Payroll Protection and How the Cares Act Can Help Your Church or Non-Profit;  We Need to Survive COVID-19 ;Social Distancing does not mean Social Isolation and Seeing All the People in the Age of COVID-19, just to name a few.  Presenters are:  Bishop Jonathan Holston, South Carolina Annual Conference; Janet Jamieson, CFO, Discipleship Ministries; Richie Butler, Sr. Pastor, St. Paul – Dallas, TX; Marvin Moss, Sr. Pastor, Salem UMC, New York; Emanuel Cleaver III, St. James UMC, Kansas City, MO; Jeffrey Campbell, Associate General Secretary Discipleship Ministries; Adrienne Zackery, Senior Pastor Crossroads UMC, Compton, CA; Michael Bowie, Sr. Pastor, St. Luke, Dallas, TX.  The Virtual Summit moderators are Discipleship Ministries General Secretary Junius Dotson, and Toska Medlock Lee, Interim National Director for SBC21.


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Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century is a National Racial Ethnic Plan of the United Methodist Church. We are dedicated to helping predominately black congregations become effective and fruitful in mission and ministry. This is done by offering specific services to collaborating churches based on needs identified by Annual Conference Bishops, Cabinets, local congregations, clergy, and laity.

Our SBC21 partner churches receive relevant tools, coaching, training, strategic planning, hope, inspiration, and encouragement to go forward with a fresh vision the Lord has given the church. Our core programs are the National Network for Young Adults, National Prison and Social Justice Ministry and the Collaborative Coaching and Training Network.