The Black Church is in the community in the S.F. Bay Area
Every Wednesday evening, an extraordinary gathering takes place at Imani Community Church in Oakland.
Rain or shine, and with few exceptions – perhaps a break for Easter events – a study group gathers to listen, discuss the assigned reading, and ask questions as social justice is examined with the Bible and books from Black theologians.
One of these pre-eminent theologians teaches the class quite routinely called “Bible Study,” but it’s so much more. The Rev. Dr. George C.L. Cummings, Ph.D. founded Imani Community Church in 1996 and is committed to faith in action, and is making good on his personal, spiritual, theological and academic commitment. As stated in his biography on the Imani website: “…Pastor Cummings has empowered the church to expand its vision beyond its walls.”
As regional executive director of Faith in Action, formerly known as the Oakland Community Organization (OCO), Dr. Cummings reaches even further into the community with this faith-based organization “dedicated to training leaders to bring about social change.”
He also serves as co-chair of the Ceasefire Steering Committee in Oakland that has successfully reduced gun violence and homicides through partnership with community, law enforcement, and service providers.
So, why emphasize Wednesday night Bible study? Because this is an opportunity to study with a master teacher who has ordered his steps in the Lord. Everyone is welcome to join in bringing the Bible alive, learning Black theology, and discovering social justice messages often overlooked in scriptural study.
The group just finished Dr. James H. Cone’s, “Said I Wasn’t Gonna Tell Nobody,” his last book published in 2018, the year he died. Dr. Cone, recognized as the founder of Black Liberation Theology, draws from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin.
Other books being considered for study include: “Cut Loose Your Stammering Tongue: Black Theology in the Slave Narrative,” edited by Dr. Cummings and Dr. Dwight N. Hopkins; “Jezebel Unhinged: Loosing the Black Female Body in Religion and Culture,” by independent scholar Tamura Lomax, CEO and founder of “The Feminist Wire;” and, “Too Heavy A Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength,” by Chanequa Walker-Barnes, a psychologist and pastoral theologian examining how “the three core features of the ideology of emotional strength, caregiving, and independence constrain the lives of African American women.”
The class meets Wednesday, 7:00 p.m., at Imani Community Church, 3300 MacArthur Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94602. For more information call: 510-531-5411.