The Black Staff Association of the United Methodist Church is a non-profit professional organization dedicated to serving the needs of black staff serving The United Methodist Church in staff positions with UMC boards, agencies, conferences, jurisdictions, and districts. BSA will work collaboratively with all segments of The United Methodist Church in order to strengthen relationships that help to equip staff to more effectively network, empower and engage missional in our communities as we seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of our global world.



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2017-2018 BSA Officers

Rori Blakeney
Discipleship Ministries – Young People Ministries

Vice President
Royya James
United Methodist Communications

Maurita Bowie
General Commission on Religion and Race

Nominating/Program Committee Chair
John W. Coleman Jr.
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference

Communications Chair
Sharon Dean
General Council on Finance and Administration

Harris K. Tay
West Ohio Conference


Seeking God's Vision During Seasons of Change

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens" Ecclesiastes 3:1


Greetings from your new National Black Staff President!


Those who gathered in February for our Annual Meeting in New Orleans, enjoyed a wonderful time of fellowship and dialogue on work dynamics, church structure and spiritual growth. I want to take a moment to thank Rev. Carl Arrington for his leadership during our programming time. Carl offered valuable tips for adapting to change. We will make the Powerpoint available on our website soon. Thank you to all those at the annual meeting for the trust and confidence you've placed on me as your new president. I hope I can be in service to you and your colleagues throughout the year.

I'd like to introduce you to our new leadership team elected at the Annual Meeting. We have several new members from annual conferences and agencies.


Our executive team is as follows:

Michelle Whittaker, President (GBCS)
Carl Arrington, Vice President (SEJ/Western North Carolina)
Lauranette Ford, Treasurer (Office of Internal Audit)
Jeri McKie, Asst. Treasurer (GBGM)
Marva Usher-Kerr, Secretary (GBGM)
Helen Allen, Asst. Secretary (UMCom)
Diane Johnson, Communications (Retired/GBGM)
Ken Nelson, Co-Chaplain (South Carolina)
LeKisha Reed, Co-Chaplain (Northern Illinois)
Antonietta Wilson, Nominations (GBGM)
Kwasi Kena, Program (GBOD)


As the verse from Ecclesiastes highlights, there are moments of change and activity that we experience throughout life. The United Methodist Church faces uncertainty and change in the coming months and year as we prepare for General Conference and make adjustments to our structure at the local church, annual conference and general church level. Members of our executive team are summarizing key points from the worldwide Leadership Summit (held on Apr. 6) I hope you will join us in conversation at our site around issues related to

  • clergy appointments and efficacy,
  • general church / agency structures,
  • bishop accountability, and
  • vital congregations.


While these issues are challenging to discuss and leave us anxious, let us find confidence in these words from Ecclesiastes 3:14 "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end."

National Black Staff Forum is dedicated to networking and collaborating with black staff throughout the UMC connection. Please utilize our new website and share your work, ideas and thoughts about ministry with fellow members at  Thank you for your continued support of our network through giving of your time, energy, knowledge and membership.

Feel free to contact me or any member of our executive committee about ideas for more effective networking and training.


Yours in Christ,

Michelle C. Whittaker

President, National Black Staff Forum

Communications Director, General Board of Church and Society

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