by Phil Miller–
Deborah Glover’s funeral on Monday took place in the vast auditorium of World Victory International Christian Center. Deborah was the wife of the Rev. Ronald Glover, pastor of Mount Pleasant Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) here in Greensboro.
On the whole, the service suggested the Pentecostal Holiness tradition. Yet, just as we say we have diversity in our church without referring to race, per se, I observed diversity among the black community attending Mrs. Glover’s service. At least three of the speakers were women ordained as Disciples of Christ ministers, including Bishop Valerie Melvin, who delivered a succinct, uplifting word connecting Mrs. Glover’s leadership in a recent Regional Assembly with the penultimate phrase of our Disciples affirmation of faith (“that we may serve the one whose kingdom has no end”).
The National Convocation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), founded in 1917 (the same year as First Christian of Greensboro!), encouraged preparation and training of African American ministers for 100 years. Recently, the merger of black and white churches in our denomination (formally declared in 1968) has begun to become what it has been dreamed to be. Today our General Minister and President, Rev. Dr. Terri Hord Owens, along with the regional ministers of the Northern California, Central Rocky Mountain, Georgia, Great River (Arkansas-Mississippi), North Carolina, and Tennessee regions are African American women.
All of this reminds me of three buzz words we might want to talk about:
- Diversity – Being invited to the party
- Inclusion – Being asked to dance
- Belonging – Feeling free to dance as if no one’s watching