Signs from the annual gathering of National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) last month indicate the organization has initiated fresh efforts to include more minorities in its leadership and programs.
The racial reconciliation theme has been sounded repeatedly in recent months. Last year, the National Association of Evangelicals began discussing the possibility of closer relations with the interdenominational National Black Evangelical Association (CT, Feb. 6, 1995, p. 48). The nation's leading black and white Pentecostal groups used a foot-washing ceremony to close years of racial separation (CT, Dec. 12, 1994, p. 58). And the Southern Baptist Convention apologized for condoning racism (CT, Aug. 14, 1995, p. 53).
While white NRB leaders have not issued admissions of guilt or proceeded with symbolic repentance, they are subtly working toward greater inclusivity.
A group of black performers, Charles Johnson and the Revivers, provided the music at the beginning of last month's annual convention in Indianapolis. Myles Munroe, the black president of Bahamas Faith Ministries International, opened as convention speaker. Other blacks participating in the event included U.S. Rep.
J. C. Watts and singer Larnelle Harris. Tony Evans's "The Urban Alternative" won the television program of the year award.
"We do feel very strongly that there should be reconciliation," NRB chair Robert Straton told CHRISTIANITY TODAY. "In our selection of speakers and musicians we want to appeal to all people. We want to show that we are in unity."
Still, NRB institutional divisions remain. The Black National Religious Broadcasters (BNRB) and Hispanic National Broadcasters hold separate functions during the NRB convention; there are no talks of melding the three ...1