Our Vision


The scriptural imperative that drives the Vision for Vital Mission and Ministry 1996- 2000 comes from the Word of the Lord in the book of Habakkuk:

“… And the Lord answered me and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” (Habakkuk 2: 2,3)

 

Goal 1) Leader Development: “And He gave some, apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ: Till we all come into the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4: 11-13)

Goal 2) Modeled Oneness: “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou has sent me. (John 17:21)

Goal 3) Faithful Congregations: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) (Acts 1:8)

Goal 4) Ministerial Recruitment: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” (Timothy 2: 5-8)

Goal 5) Ministerial Nurture: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.” (Philippians 4: 13,14)

Goal 6) Transformational Ministry: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

General Ministries of the Christian Church

History

Any journey must begin with an assessment of where one has been. The following is a brief historical sketch of the development and ministries of the National Convocation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

The African American Convention movement was established as early as 1830 in “free” states as the secular adjunct of African American congregations as a means of coordinating opposition to slavery, forced relocation of free African Americans to Africa and a multitude of social ills. The development of collective strategies to effect the well-being of “freed” African Americans after the close of the Civil War (1865) was so great that most of the present organized work of the African American congregations within the Christian Church (Disciple of Christ) was developed by that first generation of former slaves.

The American Christian Missionary Society supported African American evangelists and employed Preston Taylor as “National Evangelist” during the closing decade of the 19th century. The ACMS asked the Christian Women’s Board of Mission to take over the work in 1900. The CWBM continued that support through the next two decades. On July 1, 1914 the CWBM employed Rosa Brown to minister among the women and on October 1, 1914 the Bible School Department of the
ACMS employed P.H. Moss to serve the bible schools.

Two calls went out in 1917 to organize a National Convention — Preston Taylor sent out a call from Nashville, Tennessee in September, and William Alphin sent out a call in October in connection with the International Convention of the Christian Churches which was being held in Kansas City. The people rallied to the call of Preston Taylor and in September, 1917 the National Christian Missionary Convention was formed. Anna R. Atwater of the CWBM, Robert M. Hopkins of the ACMS, Stephen J. Corey of the Foreign Christian Missionary Society and J.B. Lehman of the CWBM were present at the organizing meeting. A delegation from the newly-formed NCMC was present at the October 1917 meeting of the International Convention which voted approval of the NCMC as an auxiliary of the International Convention.

The 1942 NCMC Constitution stated its purpose as follows:

” … to cooperate in the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; to promote the cause of evangelism, to foster and maintain a program of Christian Education among the Christian Churches of the Brotherhood; to perform such general supervisory functions as the best interest the work may require; and to cooperate with the International Convention, the United Christian Missionary Society, and other Brotherhood agencies, boards or movements for the furthering of the world program of the Brotherhood, and any other religious movement the Brotherhood chooses to work with.”

After eight years as the National Field Worker, R.H. Peoples resigned in 1943 with a challenge to the NCMC which he later articulated as the president of NCMC in 1955 as “Proposed Plans for Merging the National Christian Missionary Convention with the International Convention of Disciples of Christ and the United Christian Missionary Society.” The basic concept developed was the merging of the services and work of the NCMC with the International Convention and the UCMS.

The merger was finalized in 1960 and called upon the ministries of the whole church to serve the whole church. Three former NCMC staff persons became staff of UCMS. They held positions in evangelism, Christian education and Christian Women’s Fellowship. Concern was expressed that “Jim Crowism” of the former NCMC staff not be operational through calling upon all of the UCMS staff to serve the whole church.

R.H. Peoples’ vision of merging the National Christian Missionary Convention with the International Convention of Disciples of Christ and the United Christian Missionary Society continued in the development of the “Design for Renewal and Growth” in 1962. This design was the result of the work of the most creative African American Disciples’ minds and clearly focused on the need for one church serving all of the church.

In 1969 the International Convention of Christian Churches adopted “Principles for Merger of the National Christian Missionary Convention and the International Convention of Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ)” that formalized this 26 years of visioning and strategy. The opening paragraphs of the resolution state the strategy as well:

“Under the ONE God, the ONE Church has ONE mission in the world; the merger of the National Christian Missionary Convention and the International Convention of Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) must be under the disciplines of the ONE God, in ONE Church, and stand united in ONE mission in the world.

“The total responsibility and witness of the Church, including the concerns outlined by the Committee on Program and Structure of the National Christian Missionary Convention in its report on “Design for Renewal and Growth” is the object of the proposed merger of the National Christian Missionary Convention and the International Convention.

“The agreements of 1960 between the National Christian Missionary Convention and the United Christian Missionary Society dealing with such areas of common concern as staff employment, the relationship of the Executive Secretary of the National Christian Missionary Convention, employment procedures, Staff Committee on Negro Work, Commission on Inter-Racial Relationships, etc., were recognized and approved as being, in principle, equitable and acceptable to all regarding program services for the total Church.”

The National Convocation was called into being as a result of the adoption and implementation of these principles and stated its purpose in its “Articles of Operation” as follows:

” … to provide an instrumentality within the structure of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as a forum for the discussion of pertinent issues related to black church life in the context of total church life; for fellowship, program promotion, leadership training and such other general purposes as shall support and strengthen the congregations involved in the total mission of the church.”

Developmental Timeline

1830 — Beginning of the African American Convention movement in “free” states

1865 — Signing of the Emancipation Proclamation

1867 – 1910 — Organizing of African American Disciple Conventions

1890 — Preston Taylor hired as National Evangelist by ACMS

1914 — Rosa Brown hired as Field Worker for women by CWBM; P.H. Moss hired as Church School and Young Peoples Worker by ACMS

1917 — NCMC organized and approved as an auxiliary of the International Convention

1935 — R. H. Peoples hired as National Field Worker by UCMS

1943 — R. H. Peoples’ call for merger of NCMC and International Convention

1945 — Emmett Dickson hired as Executive Secretary of NCMC

1947 — Lorenzo Evans hired as Director of Christian Education by NCMC

1949 — Charles Webb, Sr. hired as Director of Field Work and Evangelism by NCMC

1960 — Merger of staff and services of NCMC with UCMS

1969 — Merger of NCMC with International Convention

Important Dates in the African American congregations of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

1867 – Southern District of Churches of Christ (Disciples of Christ)

1867 – National Convention of Disciples (Colored), Rufus Conrad, founder

1871 – South Carolina Christian Missionary Convention

1872 – Western District of Churches of Christ (Disciples of Christ)

1872 – Kentucky Christian Missionary Convention

1880 – Alabama Christian Missionary Convention

1881 – Texas Christian Missionary Convention

1882 – Goldsboro/Raleigh Assembly, Goldsboro (West of Tarr River)

1882 – Piedmont Tri-State District Convention

1887 – Mississippi Christian Missionary Convention

1892 – Wester District of Churches of Christ (Disciples of Christ)

1910 – Washington and Norfolk District of Churches of Christ (Disciples of Christ), East of Tarr River

The Board of Trustees of the National Convocation

The Board of Trustees serves as the deliberative body to give guidance and direction to the National Convocation as it pursues mission and ministry in the denomination. The Board serves as the governance body in its decision making and business discussions during Biennial Session and regular Board Meetings. The Board enables the National Convocation to live into its mission as stated in the Articles of Operation: “to provide and instrumentality within the structure of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as a forum for the discussion of pertinent issues related to Black Church life in the context of the total church live; for fellowship, program promotion, leadership training, and such other general purposes as shall support and strengthen the congregations in the total mission of the church.” 

National Convocation Officers

President

Patricia Penelton

Ballwin, MO
Class of 2018

Vice President

Donald K. Gillett

Lexington, KY
Class of 2018

Secretary

Edward Cushingberry

Beaufort, SC
Class of 2018

Treasurer

Gloria Gilliard

Ridgeville, SC
Class of 2018

Preston T. Adams

Indianapolis, IN
Class of 2018

Valildra Berry

Summerville, SC
Class of 2018

Irvin Green

Hiram, OH
Class of 2018

Shannon Dycus

Indianapolis, IN
Class of 2018

Milton Bowens

Oklahoma City, OK
Class of 2020

Ken Brooker Langston

Annapolis, MD
Class of 2018

Delesslyn Kennebrew

Lithonia, GA
Clergy Women

Antonio Redd

Henrico, VA
Young Adults

Arnold Hayes

Nashville, TN
Disciples Men

Wanona Redd

Martinsville, VA
Disciples Women

Sue Gray

Paducah, KY
Minister’s Spouses

Edward Williams

Birmingham, AL
Ministers Fellowship

Chesla Nickelson

Indianapolis, IN
NCC/DHM Merger Staff
Disciples Women

Sheila Spencer

Indianapolis, IN
NCC/DHM Merger Staff
Christian Education

R. Wayne Calhoun

Indianapolis, IN
NCC/DHM Merger Staff

Rev. Terri Hord Owens

Indianapolis, IN
Ex-Officio, General Minister, and President
Sotello Long
Indianapolis, IN
Ex-Officio, President, Disciples Home Missions

Dr. Timothy M. James

Indianapolis, IN
Ex-Officio, Admin Sec., National Convocation