Presented by CENTRAL Wisconsin Seminary Site and hosted by Housing Ministries:
TEACHING PASTORS FORUM #3 with Rev. Dr. Marvin A. McMickle, Recently retired President – Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School
On Saturday, July 20 approximately 50 people gathered for the third Teaching Pastors Forum of 2019, presented by CENTRAL Wisconsin seminary site. Housing Ministries of American Baptists in Wisconsin hosted the event at the Green Tree Community Learning Center. This forum was a special event as our guest speaker was Rev. Dr. Marvin McMickle, recently retired president of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. Dr. McMickle was in town to participate in the Ministers Council Anointing Service on Friday night and graciously agreed to share on the theme of “Challenges to a Prophetic Pastorate” on Saturday morning.
Dr. McMickle addressed 21st Century contexts for ministry that present those challenges, beginning first with the “assurance that the God we serve has not been supplanted, uprooted, or replaced by any secular power.” How does one preach and pastor in a society divided by Black Lives Matter and white supremacy? How do you minister in the face of “fake news,” nativism, and narcism? The starting point of “assurance” calls the faithful back to the depth of our tradition that speaks truth to power. The long biblical tradition of “parrhesia” or “bold speech” provides guidance and inspiration from Moses through Amos to John the Baptist and Paul.
Dr. McMickle advocated a standpoint of “witness” in three tasks: 1) see something; 2) say something truthful; 3) willingness to suffer something for the sake of truthful speech. This basic framework provides guidance for the prophetic voice that stands within the larger salvation history of God’s work in the world rather than responding to the secular powers and their self-absorbed agendas. He drew together the wide-ranging conversation with an encouragement to locate the prophetic voice in the context of pastoral care and love. Even Jeremiah wasn’t Jeremiah EVERY Sunday. A difficult truth is more likely to be heard from a good and loving pastor who provides the care and comfort appropriate to the pastoral office.
The address was followed by a brief panel discussion that sought to “Bring it Home” to Milwaukee. Rev. Dr. Archie Ivy of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church facilitated the panel discussion that also included Dr. McMickle, Rev. Dr. John Walton of Calvary Baptist Church, and Rev. Dr. Fred Crouthers of New Covenant Baptist Church. Panelists shared brief remarks and participants asked questions and offered remarks that highlighted the tensions of raising a prophetic voice in a diminished church. The conversation was honest and respectful. A sampling of questions submitted for further discussion is below.
When are we going to stop being the “Black Church” or “White Church” and become one Church? God’s church? How can this happen?
What do you think are some of the competing sources in Pastor’s/Minister’s lives?
How can we come together as “one church voice” to combat violence, injustice, inequality and segregation? (i.e. Dontre Hamilton & Seville Smith)
The dialogue was lively, honest and wide-ranging. The discomfort of honest and truthful speech in a loving environment hopefully extends the conversation forward into the future.
Participants then shared a meal with table talk.
CENTRAL Wisconsin is profoundly grateful to Housing Ministries for hosting the event, to Dr. McMickle for sharing his wisdom and encouragement, and particularly for all those who attended and participated.
Please keep an eye out for an offering from Housing Ministries of American Baptists in Wisconsin and the Urban Center initiative where some of these issues can be addressed in more depth and breadth.
Additionally, you are invited to the fourth and final Teaching Pastors Forum of 2019, on THURSDAY, September 19 from Noon to 1pm at Progressive Baptist Church – 8324 W Keefe Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53222. The topic: “The Communion of Saints: Why Baptists Need the Church … and Vice Versa” – facilitated by John A. Jones IV, Ph.D. site coordinator of CENTRAL Wisconsin and Associate Regional Minister – Education for American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin. See this LINK for details.
If you wish to receive notice of future Teaching Pastor Forum offerings, please contact ABC/WI Office Administrator Sean Cornell – (262)782-3140 – firstname.lastname@example.org – to leave your information.
One of the most respected preachers in the nation, Marvin A. McMickle, DMin, PhD, served as pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio for nearly twenty-five years before becoming president of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York in January 2012. He retired from CRCDS at the end of June 2019. No stranger to academia, McMickle previously served as professor of homiletics at Ashland Theological Seminary and in 2009, spent a semester as a visiting professor at Yale University Divinity School. He also taught at Case Western Reserve, Cleveland State, Princeton and Fordham universities.
A prolific author, McMickle has more than a dozen books to his credit, including resources on preaching, ministry, and African American history.