More than 520 members of the National Convocation were called to action at the 25th Biennial Session in Birmingham, AL, July 19-22. Worship and speakers alike echoed the theme of A Call to Action: Onward Christian Soldiers based on both 2 Samuel 10:12 and Ephesians 6:13. Youth step teams roused worshipers and old favorites like “Lift Every Voice and Sing” brought life and energy to the Biennial Session.
Opening worship led by Minister Walter Owens of Salem Baptist Church (Chicago) featured the preaching of Rev. Dr. Marvin McMickle of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. He reminded worshipers not to be satisfied too soon and miss out on the glory of God yet to come. Rev. Dr. Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, a bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, urged using all of our armor even when it is uncomfortable. Rev. Shannon Dycus, co-pastor of First Mennonite Church in Indianapolis issued a call to plant new trees. Bible lectures were provided by Rev. Dr. John W. Kinney of Virginia Union University.
During the banquet Saturday evening, the National Convocation honored Rev. Jesse Jackson, Jr. with the Justice Leadership Award and Rev. Charles Webb, Jr. with the Preston Taylor Living Legacy Award. In addition, the Liberation Award was given to four recipients: Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, Rev. Dr. Irie Session, Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr., and Rev. Dr. Sekinah Hamlin.
Phillips Theological Seminary sponsored an Emerging Voices showcase of a new generation of preachers which included Rev. Edward L. Anderson, Rev. Anthony L. Holmes, Sr., Rev. Rae Karim and Rev. Whittney Ijanaten.
The Institute for African-American Faith and Life offered workshops Thursday, Friday and Saturday ranging from community organizing to a review of the Merger Agreement and college access to interacting with African mission partners.
Business meetings were convened by President Patricia Penelton. General Minister and President Terri Hord Owens, Associate General Minister and President and Administrative Secretary Timothy James and Pendleton shared their perspectives on the state of the general church, National Convocation and the board.
For photos, go to the National Convocation Facebook page.