We are a congregation which is Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian… Our roots in the Black religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are an African people, and remain “true to our native land,” the mother continent, the cradle of civilization. God has superintended our pilgrimage through the days of slavery, the days of segregation, and the long night of racism. It is God who gives us the strength and courage to continuously address injustice as a people, and as a congregation. We constantly affirm our trust in God through cultural expression of a Black worship service and ministries which address the Black Community.
Trinity United Church of Christ adopted the Black Value System written by the Manford Byrd Recognition Committee chaired by Vallmer Jordan in 1981. We believe in the following 12 precepts and covenantal statements. These Black Ethics must be taught and exemplified in homes, churches, nurseries and schools, wherever Blacks are gathered. They must reflect on the following concepts:
1. Commitment to God
2. Commitment to the Black Community
3. Commitment to the Black Family
4. Dedication to the Pursuit of Education
5. Dedication to the Pursuit of Excellence
6. Adherence to the Black Work Ethic
7. Commitment to Self-Discipline and Self-Respect
8. Disavowal of the Pursuit of “Middleclassness”
9. Pledge to make the fruits of all developing and acquired skills available to the Black Community
10. Pledge to Allocate Regularly, a Portion of Personal Resources for Strengthening and Supporting Black Institutions
11. Pledge allegiance to all Black leadership who espouse and embrace the Black Value System
12. Personal commitment to embracement of the Black Value System.
The Pastor as well as the membership of Trinity United Church of Christ is committed to a 10-point Vision:
1. A congregation committed to ADORATION.
2. A congregation preaching SALVATION.
3. A congregation actively seeking RECONCILIATION.
4. A congregation with a non-negotiable COMMITMENT TO AFRICA.
5. A congregation committed to BIBLICAL EDUCATION.
6. A congregation committed to CULTURAL EDUCATION.
7. A congregation committed to the HISTORICAL EDUCATION OF AFRICAN PEOPLE IN DIASPORA.
8. A congregation committed to LIBERATION.
9. A congregation committed to RESTORATION.
10. A congregation working towards ECONOMIC PARITY.
Some excerpts from the “Black Value System” via the Trinity Church’s website (pdf):
BLACK VALUE SYSTEM
Statement of Purpose
We honor Dr. Manford Byrd, our brother in Christ, because of the exemplary manner in which he has thrice withstood the ravage of being denied his earned ascension to the number one position in the Chicago School System…
The Black Value System
These Black Ethics must be taught and exampled in homes, churches, nurseries and schools,
wherever Blacks are gathered. They must reflect the following concepts:
Commitment of God
“The God of our weary years” will give us the strength to give up prayerful passivism and become Black Christian Activist, soldiers for Black freedom and the dignity of all humankind…
Commitment to Self-Discipline and Self-Respect
To accomplish anything worthwhile requires self-discipline. We must be a community of self-disciplined persons, if we are to actualize and utilize our own human resources instead of perpetually submitting to exploitation by others. Self discipline coupled with a respect for self, will enable each of us to be an instrument of Black Progress, and a model for Black Youth.
Disavowal of the Pursuit of “Middleclassness”
Classic methodology on control of captives teaches that captors must keep the captive ignorant educationally, but trained sufficiently well to serve the system. Also, the captors must be able to identify the “talented tenth” of those subjugated, especially those who show promise of providing the kind of leadership that might threaten the captor’s control.
Those so identified as separated from the rest of the people by:
Killing them off directly, and/or fostering a social system that encourages them to kill off one another.
Placing them in concentration camps, and/or structuring an economic environment that induces captive youth to fill the jails and prisons.
Seducing them into a socioeconomic class system which while training them to earn more dollars, hypnotizes them into believing they are better than others and teaches them to think in terms of “we” and “they” instead of “us”…
*Obama met Dr. Jeremiah Wright 20 years ago in the process of trying to get Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ involved in some community organizing he was doing. Ever since, Obama has been a devoted member of Wright's church.
Obama says that Wright is not only his pastor, but he also is his friend and mentor. And Wright is one of the people to whom he turns to help him explain how his liberal positions jibe with his faith. The fact that Obama chose Trinity is no accident. In a sea of conservative black churches, Trinity stands out in that it has welcomed in gay members, done outreach to people living with AIDS and advocated progressive positions on many social issues.
In 1977, the church had a "Free South Africa" banner across its front and, in the 1990s, it responded to Louis Farrakhan's Million Man March by creating a committee to work on local social issues.
Today, Wright is quick to call those who voted for President Bush "stupid" and chastise the public for letting issues like housing for the poor "fall off the radar screen." Trinity also is unique in that it is seen as a church of the well-to-do black community in Chicago. Besides Obama, Oprah Winfrey has gone there, as have many of the city's television news personalities. But Wright says this image of his church is misleading.
"It comes from people looking at the cars in the parking lot and seeing all these Mercedes and the way people are dressed," he says. "But it doesn't count the people taking the bus and what you wear really doesn't mean anything about your income."