In the last week, I’ve had something of an epiphany: we need to listen to, love, and reach out to our black brothers and sisters. While the events of the past weeks have highlighted this, it really became personal for me this week as I heard stories from those in my own community.
It began when I was on a Zoom meeting with more than 80 ministers. We listened to a young black church planter living in Newton, Massachusetts, share how the George Floyd killing personally affected him and his young family. His wife is Asian and they definitely stand out in their predominantly white affluent community. He shared that they constantly deal with fear for their family, especially for the safety of their young children.
Later, I saw a Facebook post from a young black girl from our home church. We were friends with her parents and often in their home. She now lives in Connecticut and has a small business. She too expressed the fear she deals with just walking down the street because of the color of her skin.
What pushed me over the top was a conversation with our own daughter concerning our granddaughter starting high school. She is adopted and African American. They live in a predominantly white, upper income neighborhood. After getting much advice, they didn’t feel she would be safe attending the high school in their town because of her color. Her two older brothers graduated from the same school and agreed.
That’s when it hit home for me: we have to do better. God wants to bring good out of this tragedy, and he wants to use us – his people – to make that happen.
To this end, we are involved in a couple of efforts for which I would love your prayer and support:
- Building better communication. We are working with other Christian leaders in our state in an effort to build better communication with black churches and create opportunities to really listen to their hurts, feelings, and needs.
- Finding tangible ways to help. We need actual action steps. These steps must be practical and help in areas like job creation, education, and representation. We’re actively exploring these. For example, a friend of Family Policy Alliance who is a Christian and small business consultant wants to begin a training program to use his skills in the African American community. Acts 2 famously recounts how in the early Church, “all who believed were together and had all things in common.” That is our vision for the Church today! God wants to use our resources to create an environment where we meet each other’s needs to bring about greater equity.
Please pray for this ministry as we seek to build reconciliation, and consider monthly support of $25, $50 or $100 so we can help our state be a place where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive and life is cherished.
Chairman, Board of Advisors – Rhode Island