1099 N. Meridian St., Suite 700
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Donald K. Gillett, President
Timothy M. James, Administrative Secretary

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I offer this report with joy and gladness as I look back over the year of activity associated with the National Convocation. God is truly to be praised for a blessed and Spirit-filled 25th Biennial Session of the National Convocation in Birmingham, AL. Much appreciation is extended to Edward Williams and the Local Arrangements Committee, John Mobley and the Alabama/Northwest Florida Region who worked so wonderfully with our Board of Trustees and Merger Staff.  The presence and participation of our College of Regional Ministers, the presence of First Moderator, Beau Underwood and Moderator-Elect, Belva Brown Jordan, made a powerful statement to our faith community.  We are the Disciples of Christ and our Biennial Session is open to everyone.  We endeavor, “To be a faithful growing church, that demonstrates true community, deep Christian spirituality and a passion for justice.” (Mission Imperative of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)).

We are grateful to report the registrations for this Biennial Session was at 526 and 85% – 90% of our registrations were on line. We may attribute our on-line access and presence to the work and diligence of our Ministry Associate, Brenda Rossy.  SELAH is now published on our web page which is set up through Constant Contact, and our meetings and transportation are arranged through Concur. So, we are showing more progress technologically.

Our endeavors have produced a broader understanding of the 1969 Merger Agreement between the National Christian Missionary Convention and the International Convention of the Christian Churches.  This has been accomplished with the reprint and distribution of THE JOURNEY TOWARD WHOLENESS, sponsoring a historical summit for our Board of Trustees at the Centennial Christian Church is St. Louis, MO, workshops offered at the Black Ministers Retreat, The 25th Biennial Session and the Eastern District Assembly of the Christian Church in Michigan. In the 2017 General Assembly we recognized the 100th Anniversary of the National Christian Missionary convention.  The 2019 General Assembly will have special recognition for the 50th Anniversary of the Design along with the 50th Anniversary of the Merger Agreement.

Concerning Leadership Development, the National Convocation continues to cooperate with the Black Disciples Endowment Fund, The Black Ministers Retreat, and the Biennial Session to offer education and learning opportunities to our constituents.  It is hoped that at these points of engagement we could offer the Preston Taylor Institute regularly along with Pro-Reconciling/Anti-Racism Workshops, Boundary Training, and continuing education in the areas to meet competency requirements for commissioned ministers and ministers on the Alternative Track for ordination.  Our relationship with the General Youth Council has improved.  We were able to find a young woman to serve with GYC.  She is Brittani Bullock, a member of Light of the World Christian Church in Indianapolis.  We are pursuing our next goal, to get a youth member for the Board of Trustees.  The Young Adult Council also needs a member from the National Convocation.  We will seek a member for the YAC’s next selection period.  We look forward to working with our General Minister and President, Terri Hord Owens.  She is most appreciative of data and information technology.  Therefore, we need our pastors to send in the Year Book reports of the congregation in to the Regional Office.  That would be a good start.  Then show up and participate in district and regional meetings of Disciples of Christ taking place near you.

The 2019 General Assembly, July 20-24 in Des Moines, Iowa, has opportunities for the National Convocation to be directly involved.  The Assembly theme is “ABIDE IN ME” based on John 15: 1-5.  Our evening meal function will be Sunday, July 21, 2019.  Please, mark your calendars and set your dates for the Combined Convocation of North American Pacific Asian Disciples (NAPAD), the Biennial Hispanic Fellowship Assembly (Obra Hispana) and the National Convocation taking place July 22-25, 2020.  The location is under research and as soon as we have determined a site you will be the first to know.  Please, pray with us as we seek the Lord’s guidance to build a worshipful event on our foundation theme text, Revelation 7: 9-10.  There is a blessing here for us all.  Finally, we acknowledge the forward thinking of the Ministers Wives and Husbands Fellowship Executive Committee, for establishing an endowment fund with Christian Church Foundation in their name and for future resources.

Members of the Board of Trustees:  Donald K. Gillett (President), Irie Session (Vice President), Pamela Dubose (Secretary), James Vertreese (Treasurer), Milton Bowens, Ken Brooker Langston, Delesslyn Kennebrew, Joanne Walker Flowers, William Smith, Cicely Staton-Holt, Juanita Greene, Beverly Goines, Antonio Redd, Walter Parker, Pernella Shortie, Sue Gray, Edward Williams; Merger Staff – R. Wayne Calhoun, Sheila Spencer, Chesla Nickelson; Ex-Officio members – Terri Hord Owens, GMP, Sotello Long, President of DHM, and Timothy James.


(Operational, Policy and Organizational)


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WHEREAS, the Merger Agreement is presented as a part of the orientation offered to Board Members of the National Convocation, however, it is not enough in regards to the increased interest and questions that have arisen around the National Convocation and the Biennial Session; and

WHEREAS, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has adopted the priority to become a Pro-Reconciling/Anti-Racist denomination, and a better understanding of the Merger Agreement would help to implement inclusiveness and diversity, wholeness and Christian Unity; and

WHEREAS, the National Convocation, the North American Pacific Asian Disciples and the Central Pastoral Office of Hispanic Ministries are recognized as the Racial/ Ethnic Ministries, each having unique histories and relationships within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Merger Agreement is solely between the General Assembly and the National Convocation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); and

 WHEREAS, at their December 2015 meeting, the Board of Trustees of the National Convocation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) assigned their Executive Committee to draft a resolution that would serve to encourage the education of the denomination regarding the Merger Agreement beginning with the 24th Biennial Session of the National Convocation meeting at Overland Park, Kansas (Greater Kansas City) and the 2017 General Assembly meeting at the Indiana Convention Center; and

WHEREAS, the 24th Biennial Session of the National Convocation meeting in Overland Park, Kansas (Greater Kansas City), approved this resolution and forwarded it to the 2017 General Assembly in Indianapolis;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) meeting in Indianapolis, IN, July 8-12, 2017, celebrates the reprinting of the 1990 edition of JOURNEY TOWARD WHOLENESS: A History of Black Disciples of Christ in the Mission of the Christian Church: Vol. 1, From Convention to Convocation, by Brenda Cardwell and William K. Fox, Jr., as a proactive measure to assist in the education of our denomination on the Merger Agreement in particular and our history in general; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the church is encouraged to include the aforementioned book in the libraries of all our church affiliated colleges and seminaries and that it serve as a resource for the teaching of Disciples of Christ History and Polity; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the aforementioned book become a regional office resource and be available with the selected books in local church libraries; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Merger Agreement is presented as part of the orientation offered to General Board members; and

FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED that the study of the Merger Agreement be promoted across all three expressions of the church and higher education through all channels available.

National Convocation


The General Board recommends that the General Assembly ADOPT GA-1718. (Discussion time: 12 minutes)