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    History in the Making as Black Methodist Denominations Meet for First Time in 45 Years

    Unified Group to Develop African American Male Initiative

    Press Conference at the National Press Club, Tuesday, February 9 at 10 a.m.

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 — On Tuesday, February 9th, the nation’s three largest Black Methodist Church denominations (combined memberships of more than 5 million) paid tribute to Black History Month by announcing the formation of a historic coalition and plans to hold a major strategy summit in Columbia, S.C., March 1-3, 2010.

    Titled the “Great Gathering,” the strategy session will seek to alter the troubling history of African American males by identifying and seeking unified solutions for the key issues that are devastating the African American community. These debilitating factors include: incarceration; drug abuse; escalating unemployment; and high school dropout rates. The coalition believes a solid plan of action and the unified power of their faith, beliefs and commitment can bring significant change to the Black Community.

    The press conference will took place at 10 a.m. in the National Press Club’s First Amendment Lounge.

      Leading the press conference:
    -- Senior Bishop John R. Bryant of the African Methodist Episcopal
    -- Senior Bishop George W.C. Walker of the African Methodist Episcopal
    Zion Church;
    -- Senior Bishop William H. Graves of the Christian Methodist Episcopal
    Church; and
    -- U.S. House Representative James Clyburn, Democrat, South Carolina.

    The “Great Gathering” in Columbia, S.C., will bring together the Senior Bishops, politicians, church leaders, civic leaders, educators and others to develop initiatives to combat the myriad problems facing African American males from ages 12-25. Organizers of the event expect more than 6,000 attendees. Details about the “Great Gathering” can be found at www.greatgathering.org.

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