BURLINGTON, NC – On Sunday, March 6, 2016, the Coalition for Racial Reconciliation, a ministerial group initiated by the Alamance NAACP’s Religious Affairs Committee, brought together sixty local clergy and church members for a meal and a chance to discuss the Coalition’s recent inaugural event, a pulpit exchange held on Sunday, February 28, 2016. The pulpit exchange promoted the Coalition’s goal of initiating local relationship building between members of faith communities, across lines of race. Churches were paired with a congregation of a predominantly different racial composition and each held a worship service led by a minister of their partner church.
Today’s Coalition supper, at Occasions in Burlington, brought together ministers and four church members from each participating church in the pulpit exchange, to discuss the experiences provided by the pulpit exchange. Conversations around the tables started with a focus on the participant’s early awareness of race and then moved to broader questions about the state of race relations in our community and in the nation. Though it was widely acknowledged that racial reconciliation is an enormously ambitious goal, by the end of the evening there was an optimism in the room. These initial efforts to share perspectives, to reveal misconceptions and to develop familiarity, are the beginnings of an inspired attempt to be truth tellers and bridge builders in our community.
The Coalition has several upcoming efforts planned. In March, the Coalition is planning joint mission projects, chosen by paired churches. In April, participating churches will bring a wider portion of their congregations together for a broad dialogue regarding issues of race and racial reconciliation. Further out, a collaborative community event, such as a community choir has been considered.
Find local news coverage here: http://www.thetimesnews.com/news/20160326/alamance-county-churches-begin-working-toward-unity-across-racial-denominational-lines
The church pairings for the pulpit exchange and the shared supper include:
Union Chapel UCC and Church of the Holy Comforter Episcopal (actually held on Feb. 21)
First Reformed UCC and Arches Grove UCC
St. Matthews AME and Elon Community UCC
True Community Disciples of Christ and Life’s Journey UCC
Gethsemane Christian and First Baptist of Elon
Gospel Tabernacle and Front Street United Methodist
Clover Garden AME and First Methodist of Elon
Morgantown Baptist and Macedonia Lutheran (to be held on March 13)
Martin’s Chapel Baptist and Union Ridge Church (TBA)