WASHINGTON – An interfaith, multi-cultural group of pastors in Washington, D.C. waded deep into the tough topic of race in America on Monday.
Vowing to stare racism in the face and tackle the country’s divisive issues, the panel from the Reconciled Church said it’s incumbent upon the church to lead the way.
“I am going to declare and decree that we, as leaders of the body of Christ, take our rightful position and we stand in that gap, we repent, and we lead,” said Pastor Frank Amedia of the Touch of Heaven Ministries. “It is not an option to do nothing.”
“I have friends that will not stand out from in this issue. They say it’s a no win. I say I don’t have an option,” Amedia continued. “If we do nothing, it’s not that nothing will happen. The consequences will compound.”
Dr. Jim Garlow, pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego, shared discussions he had with black Christians on the power of truly understanding the pain of other races.
“We whites have got to repent and blacks have got to forgive. But I’m not here to speak for the blacks,” Garlow explained.
The group agreed to take the following concrete steps and are urging other Christians to do the same:
- 40 Days of Fasting from 6am-6pm starting August 29
- Prayers for the cessation of racially motivated violence; prayers for jobs to return to the economically distressed area; prayers for support of this declaration by 30,000 clergy and 300,000 Christians.
- Sign and Support the Justice Declaration of Prison Fellowship
- Initiate Local Prayer and Reconciliation Rallies
This discussion centered on the 54th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s March on Washington, where the slain civil rights leader delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
King’s niece, Alveda King, an evangelist, participated in the discussion and urged the group to rally around the notion that we’re all one race and from one blood.
Even as Texans try to recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey, Dr. Mike Hayes, a pastor originally from Houston, said the power of what happens when Americans work together can be seen in Houston.
“I watched them work together today, and people of all backgrounds, all economic status, all colors are working together to survive,” Hayes reflected.
Pictures show Texans of all races, pulling together and helping each other through the storm.
This meeting coincided with another event commemorating King’s march. The 1000 Ministers March for Justice, led by the Rev. Al Sharpton, also took place Monday.
Sharpton’s march was planned before the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia and was billed as a chance for pastors to unify and take a moral stand.
“When you see people marching through Charlottesville, 54 years after King’s dream, marching through Charlottesville shouting Jews will not replace us, it’s time to march again,” Sharpton told Washington’s Fox 5 News. “When we see people convicted of racial profiling being pardoned, it’s time to march again.”
Pastors from across the nation as well as Martin Luther King’s son Martin Luther King III are also expected to attend.
Amedia planned to march with Sharpton after the Reconciled Church discussion.
“I am going to go to the march. I am going to hopefully get to my brother Rev. Sharpton and say, ‘I’m not here agreeing with you politically. I agree with you on the fundamentals of what MLK Jr. brought to this nation and that’s where we need to meet again…meeting at the cross,” Amedia said.