1998 NCC News Archives

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NCC Black Family Ministry Project on Parenting
Receives Lilly Endowment Inc. Grant

NEW YORK, July 17, 1998 ---- Lilly Endowment Inc. has announced a grant of $134,760 that will enable the National Council of Churches (NCC) Black Family Ministry Project to go ahead with an initiative on Effective Black Parenting, beginning this fall.   The project is an effort of the NCC’s office of Family Ministries and Human Sexuality in cooperation with ten denominations, including historic African American churches and other denominations with significant African American membership.

Plans call for the recruitment of 50 African American congregations that will make a commitment to conduct Effective Black Parenting programs using resources developed through the project. Recruitment of the 50 congregations will begin this fall. The congregations also will serve as sites for research and evaluation of the project’s effectiveness. "In essence, they will be labs to help find out what works and what doesn’t," says the Rev. Dr. Joe Leonard, NCC director of family ministries.

The grant will also enable two national Black Family Ministry Conferences, one in 1999 and one in 2000.

The focus on parenting grew out of work from 1991-95, funded in part by an Endowment grant, that aimed at strengthening Black families in many areas of life. During those years, 100 consultants were trained to help congregations be more aware of the needs of Black families and to be more intentional in ministering to them. The project also published a manual, Church and Family Together, edited by Karen Bernstine (Valley Forge, Judson Press 1996).

Experience led the project team to believe that there is a critical need to address faith formation in African American households, to provide places for parent education in Black congregations and to develop new resources to undergird programs of Black family ministry.

The Rev. Bernstine, who was trained and served as a consultant for the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., in the first phase of the project, has been contracted to serve as project coordinator for this second phase. She is currently serving as a chaplain in the Office of Pastoral Care at New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, NY.

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