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Black Clergy Activists Apologize for ‘Failed’ Church Leaders

A black clergy collective based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has issued an apology to marginalized members of the black community whom they believe have specifically been let down by the church.

“Founded in December 2015 by six clergy following the tragic death of Jamar Clark in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Black Clergy United for Change is a collective of black clergy committed to the work of racial justice and social transformation in urban communities and abroad,” reads the description on the group’s website,

The group’s members include:

Pastor Elle Babington Steele, Founder/Lead Pastor of REACH
Pastor Danny Givens, Founder/Senior Pastor of Above Every Name Ministries
Pastor Carmen Means, Founder/Senior Pastor of The Movement
Pastor Dee McIntosh, Assoc. Pastor of Missions of Christ Presbyterian Church
Pastor Victor Wilson, Senior Pastor of Glendale Seventh Day Adventist
Pastor Stacey Jones, Founder/Senior Pastor of Urban Jerusalem

In addition to press coverage of their official public apology, Black Clergy United for Change also published a detailed written apology on its Facebook page.

Here is an excerpt of that written apology:

For decades we have silently lamented over the injustices our black people have suffered here in America. We recognize the many ways in which we have failed to take responsibility for our role in perpetuating an oppressive narrative against our own people.

And for such we apologize:

We’re sorry – for the ways in which we as church leaders have failed you.
We’re sorry – for the ways in which we as church leaders have failed the black community specifically black youths
+ We’re sorry- we have neglected you
+ We’re sorry- we have shamed you instead of helping you
+ We’re sorry- we have abused you
+ We’re sorry- we chose to talk at you instead of talk to you.
We’re sorry- we have supported legislation, legislators, and political candidates that have harmed our communities.
We’re sorry- that we were so concerned with losing our positions or relevance, that we didn’t pass the baton to you.
We’re- sorry that we have turned our backs on our Queer & Trans family
+ We’re sorry we have shunned you
+ We’re sorry we have ostracized you
+ We’re sorry for our silence when you were being brutalized
+ We’re sorry for emphasizing our theology that disregarded your humanity

Read the full Facebook post of the apology:

The Star-Tribune report noted that at least one local clergy member wanted no part of the Black Clergy United for Change’s apology and found it offensive.

“They are speaking for all of us. I have nothing to apologize for. I am not guilty for what they have accused me of, so this apology is unfounded,” said David A. Keaton, senior pastor at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church.

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