(Why Black Men Don't Go To Church)
More than 100 Black men met early on Saturday morning, October 1, to discuss the topic, "Why Black Men Don't Go to Church" and what can be done about it. The occasion was the Yoke Men's fellowship monthly meeting at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Altadena, CA. The men came from churches all around the area to discuss this important topic and share their ideas about improving Black men's participation in church affairs.
The reasons that evolved included the traditional and unique, old and new reasons as broad as interfering with television football schedules, to questioning whether the church fulfils the needs of the individual brother. What was clear was that Black men are more doers than just talkers, and if there was something to do, they would be there to put their hands to doing those things that benefitted the community, more so than the church.
Panel members included Reverend Lucious Smith, Pastor of Friendship Baptist Church; Gary Moody, representing the Black Male Forum; Tecumseh Shackelford of The Mentoring Project; and myself. The panel discussion was led by Reverend Tyrone Skinner, Pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church.
As the discussion moved to what needed to be done, it became clear that one session would not be enough. The early morning discussion, which included breakfast for the group, was such a vital one for the growth and success of the community that it was agreed it would continue as the topic for the November 19th meeting at Metropolitan Baptist Church. Call the Church for questions at: (626) 798-8611, or watch The Journal for further details.
It was exciting to be a part of a meeting that was purely constructive and held for the benefit of the total community. No one church or pastor was highlighted as having to lead the mission of getting Black men back to church. In fact, it was stated that when a project had to highlight one minister or church as the leader, it generally fails.
Members had an opportunity to sign up to help ongoing projects, including The Mentoring Project, and sign letters and petitions to try to keep the Post Office open, which many were unaware of. There is a move afoot to shut down the Post Offices in Altadena and Pasadena, including the main Post Office at Lincoln and Orange Grove.
A new project the, New City Black Youth Institute and Industries, has been initiated to provide training and work for Black youth. That project grew out of a meeting of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance earlier this year and was designed by this writer using the Home Boys Industries of Los Angeles as a model. More information on the project will be available at the October 18th meeting. Work on the project is being headed by Attorney Gabriel Woods and is proceeding.
The Breakfast Meeting was open and honest and had none of the usual detractors who find themselves at meetings to give negative, non-constructive criticism. The mission is clear. The workers have made themselves available and, hopefully, the positive trend will continue as Brothers move forward in doing God's work and working to cure the Crisis in the Village related to answering the question of, "Adam Where Are You?"