PHOTOS COURTESY OF JCTS
MIAMI – Each year, the Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary (JCTS) hosts a thought-provoking colloquium designed to stimulate discussion surrounding topics relevant to the church and its existence in this country. This year’s forum, “The Incredible Shrinking Church 2.0: Where Are the Millennials?” is taking place May 17 to 19 at the Universal Truth Center for Better Living, located at 21310 NW 37th Ave., in Miami Gardens.
“We have an exciting program every year,” said Rev. Anna Price, the seminary’s provost and the host of the colloquium. “This year we have both a compelling and timely topic with an exceptional panel of presenters and panelists.”
One of the most anticipated aspects of the conference includes, “ex-pastor,” Kevin Wesley, a Millennial himself who went viral on Facebook two years ago for his public denunciation of his Christian faith. Wesley will appear via live stream to share his perspective as an ex-clergyman who is now part of the growing spiritual-conscious movement to awaken individuals from the “spell of religion.”
Opening night of the colloquium features the Rev. Sheila McKeithen, president of the Universal Foundation for Better Living, Inc. (UFBL) and the JCTS; as well as introductory remarks from Price, who will expound on the background of the year’s theme. McKeithen will share a clip from a focus group she moderated with youth in Kingston, Jamaica, as they discussed their views on the church.
Mitchell Walthour Jr., a filmmaker-activist and a co-coordinator of this year’s event, will facilitate a video presentation. “My presentation is a fusion of current research regarding my generation – Millennials – which I’m sure is going to ruffle some feathers,” the 29- year-old laughs.
“I will use data to shine a light on who my generation is and what we’re experiencing socially and economically. I will also go a step further to link those social and economic failures to the church. I also don’t shy away from the racial element either.”
The evening’s keynote address will be delivered by the Rev. J. Edwin Bacon, author of “8 Habits of Love” and a national voice on the oneness of all, faith, and justice. Oprah Winfrey recently named Bacon a “soul teacher” on her “SuperSoul 100” list of awakened leaders. Bacon will present on, “It’s The End Of the Church As We Know It and I Feel Fine.”
Friday’s session includes the Rev. Joshua Mitchell, the Minister of Youth and College Students at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, and author of the newly released book, “Black Millennials and the Church: Meet Me Where I Am.”
“Not only has he produced original research on this subject, but Mitchell has experience with college-aged members at his church, which is vital to discuss, as churches often lose their youth when they head off to college,” said Price. Mitchell will present remotely.
Friday evening continues with Dr. Joan Muir, a licensed clinical psychologist and the executive director of the Brief Strategic Family Therapy® Institute at the University of Miami in Coral Gables. Dr. Muir will offer the psychology of Millennials, giving us an academic glimpse into the lives and minds of the current generation.
Saturday’s program leads off with Michelle Hollinger, editor of the South Florida Times, publisher of The Sisterhood, author and filmmaker; and Tawnicia Ferguson-Rowan, a faculty member at both the JCTS and Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens. Both presenters will explore this theme in the context of New Thought, offering unique and individual perspectives.
The session will also include a panel discussion with all live presenters and Millennials to review key points taken from the forum and answer final questions from attendees. Participants will have an opportunity to convene in breakout groups to share their responses to “Where do we go from here?”
The first night is free to the public and will be live-streamed on the UFBL’s Facebook page. The Colloquium is open to the public, and participants may attend live or online. Admission is $30.00; admission and a recording are $50.00.
Please visit www.jctseminary.org/2018colloquium to register. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-624-4991