Afro-Christian Convention | The Fifth Stream of the United Church of Christ

Afro-Christian Convention | The Fifth Stream of the United Church of Christ

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A Study of the Afro-Christian Convention

The holy stream of African spirituality that flowed across the Atlantic Ocean, up into the tidewaters of Virginia in 1619, the same stream that overflowed into the worship and work of the United Church of Christ, is celebrated and given its long-overdue place in the canon of UCC history.

The story of the Afro-Christian Convention is the story of faith, survival, and empowerment in the hostile environment of racism. From 1892 to the 1960s, the Afro-Christian Convention was composed of 150 churches and 25,000 members, located primarily in North Carolina and Virginia.

In June 1957, when the founding/merging leaders of the new United Church of Christ processed through Cleveland, representation of the Afro-Christian Convention churches was folded into the representation of the Convention of the Southa 1950s initiative of the Congregational Christian denomination to fold Black churches of the South into a single conference.

But the spirit, worldview, worship, and impact of Afro-Christian Convention churches are not appropriately represented under the banner of the Congregational stream of UCC history, a stream informed predominantly by white perspective. The Afro-Christian Convention, born from the wellspring of independent Black churches with deep African rootedness, is rightly understood—and at last shared—as a unique stream.

Edited by Yvonne Delk, the contributors to Afro-Christian Convention include: Richard H. Taylor, Brenda Billips Square, Vivian M. Lucas, K. Ray Hill, Julia M. Speller, Henry T. Simmons, Iva E. Carruthers, and Yvonne V. Delk. Foreword by Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.

Free Study Guide

For deeper engagement with the book, you can download the free study guide to accompany Afro-Christian Convention. The study guide is intended for small groups, Bible studies, book clubs, polity classes, and all others who wish to discuss the Afro-Christian tradition. Download your study guide now (PDF format).

About the Editor

The Rev. Dr. Yvonne V. Delk has served for sixty years as an educator, preacher, organizer, and prophetic voice leading the fight for human and civil rights for people of color, children, and the poor throughout five continents. She is currently a member of the Board of Trustees for Franklinton Center at Bricks, and lives in Norfolk, Virginia.

United Church Press
ISBN 978-0-8298-0031-9 

Polity Discount

Purchase 6 of the following 18 polity titles and receive a 30% discount by entering the code "UCC Polity Bundle" at checkout.

  • Afro-Christian Convention: The Fifth Stream of the United Church of Christ (Delk)
  • Confessing Our Faith: An Interpretation of the Statement of Faith of the United Church of Christ (Shinn)
  • Covenant: A Study for the United Church of Christ (Fisler-Hoffman)
  • The Evangelical Catechism: A New Translation for the 21st Century (Trost)
  • The Evolution of a UCC Style: Essays in the History, Ecclesiology, and Culture of the United Church of Christ (Walker)
  • The Heidelberg Catechism: A New Translation for the 21st Century (Barrett)
  • Hidden Histories in the United Church of Christ: Volume 1 (Zikmund, ed.)
  • Hidden Histories in the United Church of Christ: Volume 2 (Zikmund, ed.)
  • History and Program: Revised and Updated (Post/Dipko)
  • A History of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (Zuck, ed.)
  • New Ecclesiology and Polity: The United Church of Christ (Steckel)
  • The Shaping of American Congregationalism: 1620-1957 (von Rohr)
  • The Shaping of the United Church of Christ: An Essay in the History of American Christianity (Gunnemann)
  • Sharing Leadership: A United Church of Christ Way of Being in Community (Drummond)
  • That We May All (Finally!) Be One: Covenant, Hospitality, and the Expanding Identity in the United Church of Christ (Gast)
  • Theology and Identity: Traditions, Movements, and Polity in the United Church of Christ (Johnson and Hambrick-Stowe, eds.)
  • United and Uniting: The Meaning of an Ecclesial Journey, United Church of Christ 1957-1987 (Gunnemann)
  • The Unofficial Handbook of the United Church of Christ (Caldwell and Preston)

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