As Black History Month continues, JNS' Shalle' McDonald looks at IFCJ's ongoing outreach to the African-American community and how these partners in faith have joined in standing for Israel:
Over the course of the last year, there have been a rising number of delegations of black Christians, particularly clergy members, making pilgrimages to Israel. These groups are increasingly coming from traditional black churches in America. More than 20 high-ranking ministers from the Church of God in Christ (COGIC)—the largest black Pentecostal denomination and fourth-largest Protestant group in America, with 12,000 member churches—made headlines when they went on the first COGIC-affiliated trip to Israel in August 2015. The tour was led by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship).
“The pastors reminded us that the Jewish people and the State of Israel do not stand alone. Today, we envision a new era in bridge building between the African-American Christian community, Israel, and the Jewish people,” Eckstein said at the time.
Pastors from other well-known denominations and groups from the black community that have already visited Israel, or are expected to visit soon, include the Progressive National Baptist Convention, the Global United Fellowship, and other historically black congregations.