A Statement From the MCC Governing Board

MCC Core Value – Justice
“Working to talk less and do more, we are committed to resisting the structures that oppress people and standing with those who suffer under the weight of oppressive systems, being guided always by our commitment to Global Human Rights.”

The Governing Board is fully committed to transforming MCC by actively working to challenge racism and systemic racism within MCC and to addressing the issues of white supremacy and white privilege in our structures and systems. The Governing Board recognises that there are many different communities of People of Color within MCC, who are impacted by racism and white supremacy. The Commission on Pathways of Healing and Reconciliation was established by the Governing Board to “continue a pathway of healing and reconciliation in order to shine a light on elements that have fractured MCC relationships since General Conference 2016 and continues”. The Commission has race equity as the central focus of its work and its role is to make recommendations on how MCC can truly become a racially equitable organisation.(https://www.mccchurch.org/commission-on-pathways-of-healing/)

This statement from the Governing Board is the beginning of developing a pathway of healing addressing racism. We begin this pathway with People of African Descent.

Since the early days of MCC, there have been different bodies established to minister to people of color and to address racism, such as the MCC Task Force on Racism, the Department of People of Color, with Rev. Renee McCoy as its first Executive Director and MCC People of African Descent.

The first MCC People of African Descent (PAD) Conference was held 1998 in the USA. At this and the following eight conferences up to 2017, participants had opportunities for education, training, fellowship and worship. These gatherings also provided a place to share experiences and support one another in the face of experiences of racism, white privilege and white supremacy within and beyond MCC.

Rev. Elder Darlene Garner convened the first PAD conference in 1998 in response to a clear desire and need from within the PAD community. She continued being active in this ministry for all subsequent conferences, creating a space where participants could meet with MCC senior leadership in a more informal setting, as well as being able to access education and training. Rev. Elder Garner was the first African American to serve as an Elder in the denomination and served for over 25 years as an Elder. She has ministered in many capacities, including as Clerk and Vice-Moderator of MCC, overseeing the judiciary process, expertly guiding MCC in matters of governance, and pastored several MCC churches.

Rev. Elder Garner founded the Darlene Garner Institute for Latin American Leadership Development, inspired by her experience as Regional Elder to Latin America. In her ministry within this region, she showed respect for local cultures and empowered local leaders, broadening the experience of what it means to be ICM/MCC. She served as Director of the Office of Emerging Ministries, supporting new churches around the world, and developed MCC’s Diversity and Inclusion programme.

The Governing Board regrets the circumstances under which Rev. Elder Garner’s position as Director of the Office of Emerging Ministries was terminated and apologises for the pain and distress that she has experienced. The Governing Board apologises to Rev. Elder Garner for incidents in which Rev. Elder Garner experienced racism and white supremacist biases within MCC.

The Governing Board acknowledges and thanks Rev. Elder Garner for her many years of service and leadership. We recognise her powerful ministry and honor her place in MCC’s history.

Rev. Candy Holmes served as volunteer MCC Program Officer for People of African Descent, was the Chair of MCC Conference for People of African Descent, Friends, and Advocates, led the PAD Working Group and served as the MCC Liaison to The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries (TFAM) until her resignation from these posts in March 2018. She has represented MCC in the public square on justice issues, such as marriage equality and transgender rights and has been active in engaging with legislative bodies in the USA, such as the US Senate. She has contributed to several documents, including the 2014 Diversity & Inclusion Recommendations to MCC Leadership report and MCC-wide statements about people of African descent and race-related matters. Rev. Holmes has also contributed to many other areas of ministry, including healing and music ministries at General Conferences.

The Governing Board recognises and thanks Rev. Holmes for her many years of service in and beyond MCC, her passionate commitment to justice and her willingness to speak truth to power.

The Governing Board apologises to Rev. Holmes for incidents in which Rev. Holmes experienced racism and white supremacist biases within MCC and for the pain and hurt this has caused her.

Many people have served faithfully to organise PAD conferences, serve on the USA PAD Advisory Council and have engaged in ministry which uplifted and inspired those of African Descent and many others. Some individuals have been willing to share their personal experiences and to call MCC to account for its lack of willingness to fully address the systemic racism within our Fellowship.

The Governing Board recognises and apologises for the hurt and pain that has been caused by racism, white supremacist biases and white privilege within MCC to those in the PAD community. We are committed to working with the PAD community to support future PAD gatherings and to ensure that the voices, experiences and wisdom of MCCers of African Descent are an integral part of this organization now and in the future. Funding for this work will come from the Still Giving campaign, which has racial justice as one of its key aims.

We offer our sincere thanks to all those who have served in organising PAD conferences to date, offering safe space, community, inspiration and education. We thank those who have served on the PAD Advisory Council, sharing their wisdom and experience with MCC leaders. We recognise and honor you today.

Rev. Cathy Alexander
Rev. Delores Berry (deceased)
Rev. Brendan Boone
Rev. Onetta Brooks
Michelle Burnett
Fred Cannady
Rev. Dr. DeWayne Davis
Robert Ferguson
Rev. Wanda Floyd
Reece Jackson-Whitaker
Rev. Elder Darlene Garner
Rev. Vickey Gibbs (deceased)
Rev. Tijuana Gray
Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin
Sheryl Griffin
Less Henderson
Rev. Candy Holmes
Barry Hundley

Rev. Denise Junious
Dr. Janice Merritt
Rev. Adrian Mobley-Bowie
Rev. Carolyn Mobley-Bowie
Kareem Murphy
Valerie Parson
Franc Perry
Orgena Rose
Rev. Mykal Slack
Roland Smith
Rev. Dr. Roland Stringfellow
Elisa Vega-Burns
Rev. Marsha Warren
Cassandra White
Dr. David Williams
Rev. Doretha Williams-Flournoy
Anita Wright-Jones
Shannon Young

We acknowledge that there are those who have contributed and whose names are not known. If you would like a name to be added to the formal record in the Governing Board minutes, please email [email protected]

MCC and the world have both changed in many ways, since the first PAD conference in 1998. The Governing Board is committed to working with the PAD community globally to ensure that MCC fully lives into its calling and gift of being a diverse global fellowship.

We also commit to listen to and learn from all those affected by racism, so that we may be part of the healing journey.

In service,

Rev. Elder Cecilia Eggleston, Moderator
Rev. Elder Diane Fisher, Clerk of the Governing Board
Mark Godette, Vice Chair
Chad Hobbs, Treasurer
Rev. Alberto Nájera
Clare Coughlin, Governing Board Member on Commission on Pathways of Healing and Reconciliation
James Chavis
Rev. Paul Whiting
Rev. Marie Alford-Harkey