The National Christian Missionary Convention,
the International Convention of Disciples of Christ, and
the United Christian Missionary Society.
Beginning of the African American Convention movement in “free” states
Signing of the Emancipation Proclamation
1867–1910 Organizing of African American Disciple Conventions
Preston Taylor hired as National Evangelist by ACMS
Rosa Brown hired as Field Worker for women by CWBM; P.H. Moss hired as Church School and Young Peoples Worker by ACMS
NCMC organized and approved as an auxiliary of the International Convention
R. H. Peoples hired as National Field Worker by UCMS
R. H. Peoples’ call for merger of NCMC and International Convention
Emmett Dickson hired as Executive Secretary of NCMC
Lorenzo Evans hired as Director of Christian Education by NCMC
Charles Webb, Sr. hired as Director of Field Work and Evangelism by NCMC
Merger of staff and services of NCMC with UCMS
Merger of NCMC with International Convention
in the African American Congregations of the Christian Church
(Disciples of Christ)
Southern District of Churches of Christ (Disciples of Christ)
National Convention of Disciples (Colored), Rufus Conrad, founder
South Carolina Christian Missionary Convention
Western District of Churches of Christ (Disciples of Christ)
Kentucky Christian Missionary Convention
Alabama Christian Missionary Convention
Texas Christian Missionary Convention
Goldsboro/Raleigh Assembly, Goldsboro (West of Tarr River)
Piedmont Tri-State District Convention
Mississippi Christian Missionary Convention
Wester District of Churches of Christ (Disciples of Christ)
Washington and Norfolk District of Churches of Christ (Disciples of Christ), East of Tarr River
Any journey must begin with an assessment of where one has been. The following is a brief historical sketch of the development and ministries of the National Convocation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
The merger was finalized in 1960 and called upon the ministries of the whole church to serve the whole church. Three former National Christian Missionary Convention (NCMC) staff persons became staff of the United Christian Missionary Society (UCMS). They held positions in evangelism, Christian education, and Christian Women’s Fellowship. Concern was expressed that “Jim Crowism” of the former NCMC.
After eight years as the National Field Worker, R.H. Peoples resigned in 1943 with a challenge to the NCMC which he later articulated as the president of NCMC in 1955 as “Proposed Plans for Merging the National Christian Missionary Convention with the International Convention of Disciples of Christ and the United Christian Missionary Society.” The basic concept developed was the merging of the services and work of the NCMC with the International Convention and the UCMS.
” … to cooperate in the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; to promote the cause of evangelism, to foster and maintain a program of Christian Education among the Christian Churches of the Brotherhood; to perform such general supervisory functions as the best interest the work may require; and to cooperate with the International Convention, the United Christian Missionary Society, and other Brotherhood agencies, boards or movements for the furthering of the world program of the Brotherhood, and any other religious movement the Brotherhood chooses to work with.”
The 1942 NCMC Constitution stated its purpose as follows:
Two calls went out in 1917 to organize a National Convention — Preston Taylor sent out a call from Nashville, Tennessee in September, and William Alphin sent out a call in October in connection with the International Convention of the Christian Churches which was being held in Kansas City. The people rallied to the call of Preston Taylor and in September 1917 the National Christian Missionary Convention was formed. Anna R. Atwater of the CWBM, Robert M. Hopkins of the ACMS, Stephen J. Corey of the Foreign Christian Missionary Society and J.B. Lehman of the CWBM were present at the organizing meeting. A delegation from the newly-formed NCMC was present at the October 1917 meeting of the International Convention which voted approval of the NCMC as an auxiliary of the International Convention.
The American Christian Missionary Society supported African American evangelists and employed Preston Taylor as “National Evangelist” during the closing decade of the 19th century. The ACMS asked the Christian Women’s Board of Mission to take over the work in 1900. The CWBM continued that support through the next two decades. On July 1, 1914, the CWBM employed Rosa Brown to minister among the women and on October 1, 1914, the Bible School Department of the ACM employed P.H. Moss to serve the Bible schools.
The African American Convention movement was established as early as 1830 in “free” states as the secular adjunct of African American congregations as a means of coordinating opposition to slavery, forced the relocation of free African Americans to Africa and a multitude of social ills. The development of collective strategies to affect the well-being of “freed” African Americans after the close of the Civil War (1865) was so great that most of the present organized work of the African American congregations within the Christian Church (Disciple of Christ) was developed by that first generation of former slaves.not be operational through calling upon all of the UCMS staff to serve the whole church.
R.H. Peoples’ vision of merging the National Christian Missionary Convention with the International Convention of Disciples of Christ and the United Christian Missionary Society continued in the development of the “Design for Renewal and Growth” in 1962. This design was the result of the work of the most creative African American Disciples’ minds and clearly focused on the need for one church serving all of the church.
In 1969 the International Convention of Christian Churches adopted “Principles for Merger of the National Christian Missionary Convention and the International Convention of Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ)” that formalized this 26 years of visioning and strategy. The opening paragraphs of the resolution state the strategy as well:
“Under the ONE God, the ONE Church has ONE mission in the world; the merger of the National Christian Missionary Convention and the International Convention of Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) must be under the disciplines of the ONE God, in ONE Church, and stand united in ONE mission in the world.
“The total responsibility and witness of the Church, including the concerns outlined by the Committee on Program and Structure of the National Christian Missionary Convention in its report on “Design for Renewal and Growth” is the object of the proposed merger of the National Christian Missionary Convention and the International Convention.
“The agreements of 1960 between the National Christian Missionary Convention and the United Christian Missionary Society dealing with such areas of common concern as staff employment, the relationship of the Executive Secretary of the National Christian Missionary Convention, employment procedures, Staff Committee on Negro Work, Commission on Inter-Racial Relationships, etc., were recognized and approved as being, in principle, equitable and acceptable to all regarding program services for the total Church.”
The National Convocation was called into being as a result of the adoption and implementation of these principles and stated its purpose in its “Articles of Operation” as follows:
” … to provide an instrumentality within the structure of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as a forum for the discussion of pertinent issues related to black church life in the context of total church life; for fellowship, program promotion, leadership training and such other general purposes as shall support and strengthen the congregations involved in the total mission of the church.”staff