Memphis Theological Seminary is announcing a new initiative, the House of Black Church Studies at MTS. President Jody Hill said, “With the addition of the House of Black Church Studies, Memphis Theological Seminary can now celebrate that we have houses of study dedicated to equipping leaders in our student body’s three largest congregational settings: the African American Church; the Cumberland Presbyterian Church; and the Methodist Church.”

On Thursday, December 9th, Memphis Theological Seminary hosted an event at the Crescent Club to launch the new initiative, which will focus on the formation of congregational and pastoral leadership by building pastoral community; supporting mental health wellness; planning future sustainability; fostering spiritual formation; and developing congregational lay leadership. 

The House of Black Church Studies will enhance Memphis Theological Seminary’s capacity to prepare and support pastors and congregational lay ministers primarily of the African-American Baptist and Pentecostal traditions to serve their local congregations. The House of Black Church Studies at MTS will include three institutes: The Institute of Baptist Studies; The Institute of Pentecostal Studies; and The Institute of Imaginative Ecclesiology. 

Dr. Christopher Davis, the Associate Professor of Preaching and Pastoral Ministry; Associate Dean of Doctoral Studies; and Director of Community Engagement at MTS, will serve as the Project Director of the House of Black Church Studies at MTS. Dr. Davis said, “As the good work of the Black Lives Matter movement was being done, some asked, ‘Where is the Black Church?’  Research and receipts will attest to the fact that without the Black Church, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson, with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by his side at both, and future congressman John Lewis, himself an ordained Baptist minister, present in 1965 — would never have been enacted when they were. There is no question that the Black Church is a parent of the civil rights movement, and today’s Black Lives Matter movement is one of its heirs.  Through the intentional work of Memphis Theological Seminary’s House of Black Church Studies, both students and the wider community will reframe the question to ask, ‘Where is the Black Church not present?’”

For more information on the work of the House of Black Church Studies or to be added to our mailing list, please contact Sharon Armour at sarmour@memphisseminary.edu or 901-334-5827.

Please visit www.memphisseminary.edu to learn more about Memphis Theological Seminary and our commitment to forming faith leaders for ministry in the Church and the world.