Bishop also shares plan to open Skid Row church and update on The Ulmer Institute
A lot is happening in the world of Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer and it’s all part of his mission to serve others by making a difference in their lives.
In concert with that goal, Ulmer, the pastor of Faithful Central Bible Church (FCBC) in Inglewood, traveled to Germany to participate in the Wittenburg Congress from Oct. 30 to November. He, along with Leonard Sweet of Drew Theological School and James O. Davis of Billion Soul Network, hosted the event to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation and persuade attendees to fulfill the Great Commission Christ that commanded in Matt. 28:19-20.
More than 1,500 ecumenical leaders attended the congress, which was held at Castle Church – the site where Martin Luther nailed up 95 theses on Oct. 31, 1517, that questioned the authority of the Roman Catholic Church to institute various practices that had no foundation in the Bible.
“What happened then resulted in who we are now in the church today. The churches in the west and the U.S. are all the result of the Protestant Reformation,” explained Ulmer. “The key to the Protestant Reformation was centralizing the word of God and the pulpit versus the tradition of the church and the liturgy of the church – a major shift. There was a spiritual shift from the traditions of the church to the word of God.”
Ulmer, the only African American speaker at the congress, preached in the ornate pulpit from Psalm 118:17 and referred to the experience as “humbling.” During his sermon, he outlined how “that one man changed the world” and connected Luther’s action to today.
“I think the lesson for us is that each one has some particular position in our communities and neighborhoods. We have a voice and we have the ability to share that voice and make a difference. There are things happening in our world today that you can’t be silent about just because it’s always happening,” said Ulmer.
He added that the congress concluded with attendees pledging to commit to biblical authority and share this belief with their communities.
New Church Plant
Continuing his commitment to serve others, Ulmer announced a new church plant on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. The ministry, set to open in early 2018, is named COR – Champions on the Road and will be housed in the Union Rescue Mission’s chapel.
The pastor was hired last week and a full-time staff will be employed. Worship services and Bible Study will be offered as well as a range of outreach programs for men, women, youth and seniors.
“We are going down there to establish an ongoing presence of a spiritual community. We want it to be on the level of quality as in Inglewood,” said Ulmer.
The Ulmer Institute
Providing an update on The Ulmer Institute (TUI), the bishop reported that the nonprofit is making steady progress. Last year, he launched TUI to help people who cannot access affordable counseling services move beyond urban trauma to hope and recovery.
The project is a partnership between centers of faith, the Israeli psychological community, the Jewish community, Los Angeles-based clinics, hospitals and research universities.
“We have trained nearly 200 students at Inglewood High School in our technique we call pre-TSD (traumatic stress disorder). We train people to reprogram their mind to process trauma before it happens,” said Ulmer.
“Every school has fire, earthquake drills and now they have active shooter drills. My premise is that we have children in urban areas who are more likely to see a drive-by shooting, gang violence or drugs before the earthquake ever hits.
“We want to prepare them when and if this happens and teach them how to navigate through the process,” he said and added that plans are underway to expand the training to more school groups, youth groups and eventually, the military.
Reflecting about his legacy, Ulmer noted, “I’ll soon be 70-years-old, married 40 years, at Faithful Central for 35 years and I’m thinking, ‘What now? What am I leaving behind that will be here when I fall?’”
Based on his past endeavors, he will likely continue his original mission to serve others. “I hope to I touch lives in a manner that what they received will be released to someone else and passed on to the next generation,” said Ulmer.