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Black Church Studies Consultation to address rural ministry in the African American context

by Chris Wooton | Feb 04, 2019

What does African American ministry look like in a rural context? What issues must ministers and congregants address to effectively provide spiritual, social, and personal guidance to the rural communities they serve? These are some of the questions that will be addressed at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary’s annual Black Church Studies Consultation, which will take place February 21 and 22, 2019, on the seminary’s campus (1044 Alta Vista Road, Louisville, Ky. 40205).

BryantThe event, a staple of the seminary’s Black Church Studies Program, will provide theological training to and establish relationships of trust with rural ministers to help them thrive. Louisville Seminary faculty and ministers from rural communities will facilitate the consultation sessions. Topics that will be discussed include bi-vocational ministry, lay/pastor relationships, community politics, and race relations.

The consultation’s special guest presenter this year is the Rev. Dr. W. Raymond Bryant, presiding elder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s Southwest Texas Conference (San Antonio District). 

Also featured are Rev. Dr. Amariah McIntosh, pastor of Philips Temple Church in Toledo Ohio, and Rev. Claudette Snorton, pastor of greater St. James CME Church in Winchester, Kentucky. McIntosh and Snorton are Louisville Seminary alums and are the consultation’s Edwards Peacemaking Lecturers. Louisville Seminary’s Edwards Peacemaking Lectureship endowment supports visiting lecturers who are active in Christian efforts for peace and social justice.

Amariah McIntoshFeatured presenters from Louisville Seminary’s faculty are Rev. Dr. Alton B. Pollard III, seminary president; Rev. Dr. Angela Cowser, associate dean of Black Church Studies and Doctor of Ministry programs; and Rev. Dr. Kilen Gray, dean of student engagement.

This year’s Black Church Studies Consultation preacher is the Rev. Sherry Green, a Louisville Seminary alum and pastor of St. Paul AME Church in Manchester, Kentucky. Kyri Demby and the Worship Team from the Portland Memorial Missionary Baptist Church in Louisville will provide the music for the consultation worship service.

Alison Stabler, a second-year Master of Divinity student at Louisville Seminary is the consultation’s artist in residence. Her exhibit, “Echoes of Alabama” is a collection of photographs and narratives about the history of slavery, Civil Rights, and rural ministry in Alabama and will be on display throughout the consultation.

“The majority of churches in America are in rural communities,” said Cowser. “Ministry in rural spaces is understudied and under-resourced. We want to build relationships with rural clergy, learn from them, and provide resources that will enrich their ministries and communities.”
Claudette Snorton
African American ministers, statewide moderators, lay leaders and seminary students who are either currently serving or who will be serving in a rural context are encouraged to attend. General admission $25. Student tickets are $10. Registration fees include meals for both days of the consultation.

Registration deadline is Friday, February 15. For details and to register, see www.lpts.edu/bcsc19.
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