The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice has launched a new project designed to encourage seminaries to prepare African American clergy to discuss sexuality issues in the black religious community.
Under the program, seminaries will offer courses addressing issues such as AIDS and teenage pregnancy and fellows will be involved in related research.
United Theological Seminary, a United Methodist-related school in Dayton, Ohio, will be the first to offer the program, beginning in January. Six clergy in the seminary's doctor of ministry program will be called "Reproductive Choice Fellows" and will work with the coalition for three years after receiving their degrees by giving lectures, taking part in workshops and promoting dialogue on sexuality issues.
"African American and other seminaries often do not address sexuality issues, such as teen pregnancy, sexuality education, HIV/AIDS prevention and education and youth and sex," said the Rev. Carlton W. Veazey, president of the Washington-based coalition.
"African American churches also are often silent on these subjects. The Religious Coalition's Seminary Project will prepare clergy to deal with issues that are having a major impact in African American communities."