The national caucus of black United Methodists criticized the church's 2000 General Conference for a service of repentance for racism, saying the delegates extended an olive branch to historically black Methodist denominations but failed to engage black people who stayed in the mother church.

At their annual April 4-7 meeting in Houston, more than 500 members of national Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR) voted to ask the United Methodist Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns to "include the voices of black United Methodists" in any further resources and events aimed at making amends for historic racism that has split the Methodist family.

At the 2000 General Conference, the denomination's highest legislative body, delegates atoned for racism in Methodist history that led to the creation of the African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, and Christian Methodist Episcopal churches.

Bishops and other representatives from those three churches expressed hope, caution, and appreciation for the initial step toward healing. Some black United Methodists, however, were concerned that an expression of regret for racism's blot on the church had not begun closer to home.

"We need to clean our own house before we start reaching out to other folks," said McCallister Hollins, pastor of Ben Hill United Methodist Church in Atlanta.

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Read the full United Methodist News Service article at the UMNS site.

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