R Dallas Greene, pastor of Grace Community Church, a Grace Brethren congregation Frederick, Md., is part of a group of pastors in his community who are seeking to bridge the racial divide in their community. A story in the Saturday’s Frederick News-Post reported on their efforts. A portion of the story appears below. Click here for the complete article.
Desegregating Sunday morning: Pastors seek to bridge the racial divide among churches, Frederick community
“The most segregated hour of Christian America is 11 o’clock on a Sunday morning.”
More than 50 years have passed since the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. made this oft-repeated declaration. With time, the remnants of the Jim Crow-mandated segregation faded, yielding to evidence both tangible and abstract of racial equality.
The house of God, however, continues to be a place of de facto segregation.
At least 80 percent of churchgoers in 2012 worshiped in a place where a single race or ethnic group made up 80 percent of the congregation, according to the latest data from the National Congregations Study. The study was conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, an independent social survey research organization, with funding from a host of research and educational institutions.
Frederick County is no exception, at least according to the Rev. Paul Foss, a pastor at Damascus Road Community Church in Mount Airy.
“I don’t think things have changed very much since [King’s] statement,” Foss said.
His church’s congregation, for example, is predominantly white — “embarrassingly so,” Foss said in an interview in June.
A group of local pastors, including Foss, are attempting to change that.
Seven men began meeting about a year ago with the intent to bridge the racial divide in the community, starting with their own congregations. Five pastors are white and two are black. They represent six Frederick County churches, some in the city and others in the rural reaches of the county. Some congregations are predominantly white, others majority black and still others somewhere in between. The services across each differ in style and tradition.
Yet all share the same Evangelical Christian beliefs in a kingdom where there is “neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female,” as stated in the Epistle to the Galatians 3:28. And the pastors see that commonality as the foundation upon which they hope to build a cross-cultural church community, starting with themselves.
… White pastors in the group share their experiences and perspectives, too, but the Rev. R. Dallas Greene, senior pastor at Grace Community Church in Frederick, emphasized his role as a white man as one of listening more than talking. He sees the group discussions as an opportunity to let the voices of his black comrades be heard.
Click here for the complete article.