Church leaders discuss diversity, reconciliation

2017-08-11 | The Newberry Observer (S.C.)

Aug. 11--POMARIA -- Thirty-nine members of local African Methodist Episcopal churches and Lutheran (ELCA) churches gathered in July at the Hope Rosenwald School in Pomaria to watch the movie "Selma," engage in conversation to unpack the legacy of racism and discuss what it means to be committed Christians in the 21st century.

"The Selma movie event was a beginning in which we have laid some of the foundation for building relationships across racial and cultural lines," said event participant Rita Boozer. "We plan to have future events and encourage people of all races and ethnicities to participate."

The event included a moment to remember the Emmanuel Nine, the victims of the 2015 church shooting in Charleston.

The round table discussion meant a great deal to event co-leader Tenetha Hall.

"I took away from the table discussion on racism that people in the community that are ready for a change and are willing to start by meeting, discussing what we can do as Christians to make a difference in the community," Hall said. "Worship together. Meet together. Be willing to get some young people's voices involved and hear what they have to say about racism. Prayerfully, that will close a big gap in racism in our society."

The event was held at the Hope Rosenwald School in Pomaria, a historic site that once provided education to black students during the days of segregation.

Congregations that planned the event included Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Pomaria; Pomaria Lutheran Church, Pomaria; St. John Lutheran Church, Pomaria; St. Paul AME Church, Pomaria; Mt. Hebron, AME Church, Pomaria; Pleasant Spring at Christ Mission, ELCA mission congregation, Columbia. The Pomaria Food Bank also took part in the process. Participants included persons from Spring Hill Lutheran Parish, Chapin and from Empowerment Ministry, Prosperity. The event was funded using Thrivent Action Team funds.

"I'd like people to know about our efforts for healing and racial reconciliation is (the calling to) pray, fight our enemy with the Word not guns," said Hall. "Stick together, become one, there should be no white congregation/black congregation in today's society."

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