The United Methodist Church will be featured in USA Today’s special edition for Black History Month, released on February 2, 2015. Two separate ads will take a look at the critical role The United Methodist Church has played throughout groundbreaking moments in U.S. history.
One ad features The United Methodist Church’s Black College Fund, which supports the largest number of Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) of any church body in the United States. The ad includes a timeline of events, highlighting that the first Methodist HBCU was opened one year after the end of the U.S. Civil War.
Accompanying text reports that United Methodist HBCUs are still relevant and essential – pointing readers to a free e-book at www.umcgiving.org/BCFebook. Find additional information at www.gbhem.org/bcf. The names of all 11 United Methodist HBCUs are also listed.
Another ad urges readers to Rethink Church by “encouraging conversations that build understanding and inspire reconciliation.” This ad remembers the work of the church’s Television, Radio and Film Commission (TRAFCO) – an agency that would go on to become United Methodist Communications – for using cutting edge technologies in 1968 to ease racial tensions after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The agency launched “Night Call,” the first call-in radio program in history. Broadcast on 117 stations across the U.S., Night Call created a place for cross-racial dialogue with influential guests such as Stokely Carmichael, Saul Alinsky, Muhammad Ali and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. With the help of the General Commission on Archives and History, Rethink Church has assembled a sampling of Night Call episodes at www.rethinkchurch.org/
“Whether on a call-in radio show in the 60s or on Rethink Church social media platforms today, United Methodists have always encouraged compassionate discussion to help us rethink our perceptions, break down walls and reach across divides,” reads text from the ad. “That’s putting beliefs into action. That’s Church.”
Rethink Church believes in carrying on the path that Night Call started by continuing to have groundbreaking conversations on race. For discussion starters, go to http://rethinkchurch.org/