Note From Peter, June 29

A Note From Peter | June 29

You may recall that earlier this month I along with 25 other pastors who serve in predominantly white churches signed a letter of solidarity and support for our African American brothers and sisters in this time of social unrest, and we published the letter in the Winston-Salem Journal as well as the Winston-Salem Chronicle on June 10th.  You can find a copy of that letter here.  I thought you might be interested in knowing what has happened with this group and in our community since that time in regard to our efforts to pursue racial reconciliation.

On the heels of this letter we formed a study group led by Bishop Sir Walter Mack of Union Baptist Church, Rev. Tembila Covington, the President of the Minister’s Conference in Winston-Salem and Vicinity, and myself, and we invited those who signed the letter to join us for a season of study and sharing which would be led by black church leaders in our community.  Over the next six weeks we are gathering on a Zoom call every Monday with the pastors who signed the letter plus several more who learned about this and expressed an interest to join us.  We’re reading and discussing the book Woke Church by Eric Mason along with other study materials, and Bishop Mack and other black leaders teach, lead and facilitate the discussion during these times of learning and sharing.  It’s been a very powerful experience to say the least.  Last Monday there were 44 pastors on the call – 38 were white and 6 were black.  Everyone is leaning into this time of honest and frank conversation, and I believe we are all encouraged by the insights each of us is gaining.  Our hope is to have a face-to-face retreat sometime in August if social distancing restrictions begin to ease up.

I would like to invite you to read Woke Church along with us.  I think you would benefit from what Dr. Mason writes in his book, and perhaps you can find a conversation partner to read it with you and share with each other your reflections on what the author says.  I also invite you to watch two films that have been part of our assignments for homework with this group – The Hate U Give (available on Amazon Prime for free), and Same Kind of Different as Me (available on Netflix for free).

This is a time of learning for everyone, and I believe the Spirit of God is moving in some great ways in our city despite the pandemic.  Please pray for this group and these efforts to grow in our mutual understanding and support of one another as the body of Christ in Winston-Salem and as we seek to tear down the walls that separate us.  I would be most grateful for your prayer support.  May the Lord bless each of you richly this day.  Be safe, stay well, wear a mask, love your neighbor, and keep your eyes on Jesus.