The Independent African-American Catholic Rite is the 24th rite to be formed in the crucible of the Catholic experience. The first Black Catholic Conference was convened by Dr. Daniel Rudd. The demand to assume control of our spiritual, religious and liturgical destiny as Catholics, and our social, political and economic destiny as a race, has been the cry across this country and around the world.
We have seen and heard the resistance of the church to call for full participation in its life and work. We, as African-American Catholics, have been told over and over to wait. The waiting is now over!
We, as a parish family, believe: "We've come this far by faith. Leaning on the Lord, Trusting in His holy word, He's never failed us yet." We have made a vow to the Lord, and we cannot turn back. We have stepped out on faith, and we have taken our spiritual destiny into our hands. We have paid the price, and we will continue to pay the price for our spiritual freedom. As we consecrate our home, let us gain strength from our struggles.
In 1989, "resisting the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church," Father Bruce Edward Greening became the first priest to ally himself with Imani Temple. Father Greening was principal at St. Mary's Academy in Norfolk, Va., at the time of the announcement. He was immediately relieved of his duties in Norfolk. His superiors in the Society of the Divine Savior asked that he "rethink" his association with the Imani Temple, return to Milwaukee and meet with the Provincial Board to discuss his association and to make a decision about his assignment. Using his conscience as his guide, Fr. Greening chose to take his spirituality into his own hands. The Salvadorians dismissed him on September 29, 1989.
Amidst the controversy surrounding the Imani Temple, the Church of St. Martin de Porres was born. The Independent African-American Catholic Rite formally declared its independence on June 17, 1990. One year after his dismissal, Fr. Greening was elevated to the office of Bishop of the Independent African American Catholic Rite.
Focusing on its principles of fostering, protecting and promoting African American liturgical, ecclesiastical, and spiritual self determination in the celebration of the life of Jesus Christ, the Church of St. Martin de Porres has grown and flourished. The Church of St. Martin de Porres has established various ministries promoting the educational, spiritual and cultural needs of its parishioners and the surrounding community. The Ministries of Music, Hospitality, Christian Education, and Nursing were actively in place.
In June 1996, the church was led into a new direction, becoming a Bible-based Christian community. Under the divine guidance of the Holy Spirit, we established ourselves as St. Martin de Porres, a New Testament Church. We have since expanded our ministries and have appointed Lay Ministers to assist in the operations of the church.
By the grace of God, we will continue to be strengthened in our faith. Using the Gifts of the Spirit, we will continue down the path of assuming full responsibility for our spiritual freedom.