Category Archives: James A. Forbes

Peacemaking Insight #2 – James A. Forbes

A special invitation from Rev. Forbes as he sums up the Congress and how it will play a role in the path of peace:

JamesForbes-PeacemakingInsight

– Pastor Emeritus from the Riverside Church in New York and President and Founder of the Healing of the Nations Foundation James A. Forbes

Correction: the Congress dates are March 1-4, 2011


Lore and Forgetting: the Congress on Urban Ministry

Dr. Cornel West speaking at 1994 Congress

Dr. Cornel West speaking at 1994 Congress

Whenever I have the chance I burn through a quick hour in the file cabinet room here at SCUPE.  It’s amazing what one learns from the artifacts someone, at some point, decided should be saved.

Lately, I have been rifling through old files and photo albums over the course of the past few months uncovering a history of the Congress that has been, it seems, all but forgotten.  Over 34 years and (once March of 2011 is here) 16 gatherings is a lot of time to form your own lore.  SCUPE’s Congress on Urban Ministry certainly has compiled its fair share of lore but, for a large national event, I am also surprised about how well of a kept-secret it is.  Well, I think that should change.  It is time that this collaborative, inter-denominational, prophetic gathering gets its just dues.

1994 SCUPE Congress on Urban Ministry

Jim Forbes, Yvonne Delk, unknown, Dave Frenchak, Cecil Williams, And Mary Nelson at 1994 Congress

Over the course of the next couple weeks I’ll share some of the lore I’ve been able to uncover and perhaps we’ll get insight into how the 2011 Congress can continue to be an impact-full gathering as we address the violence in our cities, in the way we live together, and in the way we think.

Just today I stumbled across these goals that had been lifted up at past Congress gatherings.  Even though I haven’t seen this list before today it is my guess that I would have been able to guess some of these just from being involved in the visioning here at SCUPE and with the Co-chairs and through the collaborative planning process with the National Planning Committee.

Mission for SCUPE Congress on Urban MinistryThe Mission of the Congress on Urban Ministry:

  1. To inspire both new and experienced Urban Ministry practitioners, to celebrate their calls and accomplishments, and to challenge them spiritually and professionally.
  2. To teach and learn we will seek ways to create redemptive communities, release prophetic imagination, and engage in justice, reconciliation and restoration
  3. To teach and learn best Urban Ministry practices, to collaborate and envision breakthrough initiatives, and to study and dialogue about the deeper issues affecting communities.
  4. To network practitioners and national leaders for information exchange, for fellowship, and to sharpen the skills needed to transform communities.

Co-Chairs for the 2011 Congress on Urban Ministry

2011 Congress Co-Chairs

We are more than thrilled to announce Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, president and founder of the Healing of the Nations Foundation and Senior Minister Emeritus of Riverside Church, and Rev. Dr. Michael Pfleger, pastor of the Faith Community of Saint Sabina, as the Co-Chairs for the 2011 Congress on Urban Ministry!  These two gentlemen have proven themselves intrepid pioneers of what it means to be peacemakers in a culture of violence.  SCUPE is incredibly excited for their vision, passion, and leadership to shape and guide the 2011 Congress.

Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. is Senior Minister Emeritus of Riverside Church and President of the Healing of the Nations Foundation.  Riverside Church is an interdenominational, interracial, and international church built by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1927. The church, whose pulpit has often served as the Conscience of the Nation, is where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his landmark speech “Beyond Vietnam – A Time to Break Silence”.  The 2,400-member church is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches and the United Church of Christ.

Forbes, who was installed as the fifth Senior Minister of Riverside on June 1, 1989, and retired on June 1, 2007, was the first African-American to serve as Senior Minister of this multicultural congregation. He is an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches and the Original United Holy Church of America.

Upon his retirement, Forbes founded the Healing of the Nations Foundation to promote the healing of our nation and the recovery of the moral and spiritual values that inspired its founding by fostering a level of spiritual awareness that empowers individuals and communities to become a compassionate voice and a committed force that takes action for peace, justice, interfaith partnership and environmental responsibility.

Rev. Dr. Michael Pfleger is pastor of the Faith Community of Saint Sabina.  In 1981, at the age of 31, he became the youngest full pastor in the diocese when he was appointed to Saint Sabina in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood of South Chicago.  Since that time Pfleger has become well-known as a social critic, prophetic preacher, and spiritual leader.

Pfleger has been recognized nationwide for his fight against alcohol and tobacco billboards, drugs, gun proliferation, video gambling, the degradation of women, and racism in numerous magazines, newspapers, and television programs.  As an outspoken voice against violence he has organized hundreds of social actions promoting peace and community values in the face of violence.

As a minister, Father Pfleger has sought to break down the walls of racism and denominationalism by building unity among all people founded on truth and based on Jesus’ command to love one another.  Pfleger was inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame in 2009 and was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Office of Racial Justice of the Archdiocese of Chicago in 2010.