The first of multiple facets of an anti-racism initiative, organized by Higher Purpose Church in Mooresville, will begin tomorrow, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m., with a special day of prayer.
Lawrence Williams, pastor of the Mooresville congregation shared that they organized this event, entitled “3 Conversations,” and have now recruited additional local churches to join them.
Because of COVID, all of the Day of Prayer, will have to be done virtually, Facebook live session, Williams noted, and will have about 12 of the pastors sharing a moment of prayer, along with Scripture, and songs.
Prayer is the first initiative because, “we know that prayer changes things,” Williams said, “and it’s the power of God to make a difference.”
On a video prepared to explain the initiative, Williams shared the fact that “our nation is in the middle of an extremely difficult conversation around the topic of racism. This conversation has resulted in some cases yelling, screaming and in extreme cases violence.”
Williams’ vision of going to and sharing this in the black and white churches and establishing small groups and a 90-day challenge of putting these discussions into action, has become a reality.
Thus, the 3 conversations as he said that they prayed and asked “what if we could have the black and white churches come together?”
Therefore, Williams said he “reached out to black churches, and this was conversation #1.” He noted that he asked them questions, such as ‘what do you want the white church to know?’ ‘what is the one question you want to ask?’ and ‘what is the one thing the united church could do?’
Conversation #2 was the same questions asked at the white churches.
The final conversation, #3, was when he came together with pastors and now they are moving more to the public and congregations.
Williams shared that he is “convinced that the church must be involved in, and, in fact lead this conversation because we are the ones who has the answer. The racism problem is a problem with sin, and sin can only be addressed through the love of Christ.”
The initiative has grown from this single congregation to “16 churches and counting,” Williams said. These include Abundant Life Foursquare, Central UMC, Centre Presbyterian, Faith UMC, Higher Purpose Church, Fieldstone Presbyterian, First Presbyterian, Jerusalem Missionary Baptist, Lighthouse Church, River Life Fellowship, St. Patrick’s Episcopal, Upper Praise Ministries, Vanderburg UMC, West UMC and Williamson’s Chapel UMC.
Williams said that he is excited about this initiative, which is a multi-church, cross cultural, interdenominational effort.”
“This is awesome,” he said, “We are answering the question ‘what can the unified body of Christ do to express love and make a difference?’”
The second facet in the anti-racism initiative is relationships, Williams shared on the church’s website as it told of the program.
“That’s going to be necessary to connect with people that are different than you so we can learn and grow.”
This will be realized through small groups of including members of different ethnic groups across different churches. These sessions will be conducted via Zoom and will cover discussions on racism in American.
Through this initiative Williams said that “if there is one thing I would love to see happen, and would blow me away at the end of the day when we finished with the groups, that we would inspire that they want to be a part of the group, and be a part of the 90 day challenge. This is something I want to do, and we can make a change in our sphere of influence.”
This third and final initiative is action, which will be seen in the 90 Day Challenge, planned for Oct. 4 through Dec. 31. As noted on the Higher Purpose site, the R.A.C.E. challenge includes Recognize – research the problem; Assess – determine what include you have on structural racism; Communicate – join the challenge formally and share with friends for accountability; and Equalize – find opportunities to level the playing field each week and post on social media.
“At the end of this year,” Williams said, “we will have committed thousands of acts of intentional anti-racism. Those acts will be documented, publicized, communicated, and when that happens it will make a difference, not just in the lives of those that communicate, our churches, but also our community and ultimately the world.”
If there is an individual that is not a member of a participating church or that has no church, but wants to get involved, Williams said they may do so by going to higherpurposechurch.org/anti-racism-initiative/ and texting the number posted under the “When” category and how to sign up.
When asked if he anticipate this initiative continuing, Williams said that “every church has its own vision and strategy. The goal is to let’s try to do something to the end of the year and when that comes, they will see how it is going.”
“To me, I know there are a lot of concerns,” Williams shared. “I think we can change if each person does the little bit they can do. (We need to) keep in perspective,” he continued. “Many think as individuals, we can’t do anything, but if we come together, we can truly change the culture. We can make a tremendous impact.”
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