Pastor’s Column: Follow Up to Sankofa
My pastor at Antioch Community, Andy O’Rourke, and I went on the Spring 2019 Sankofa Journey with intentions to grow in our understanding of history, each other, and the future of the Church. Sometimes we are enslaved by ignorance of the past, hatred towards others, and the systematic schemes of the enemy. On this journey, the Lord revealed to me that it only takes one person to ignite change in the hearts of others, stand for the equality and equity of the Gospel, and speak out as people of color are lost to addiction, injustice, and poverty. When doubt and fear find me, Dr. King’s words begin to ring in my ears:
“This ‘Wait’ for the negro has almost always meant ‘Never’. We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied’.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
My largest takeaway from the trip was hope—hope that I would be able to apply what we had seen and make a difference in our community. My pastor and I wrestled with how to best share what we experienced. We began by showing clips of the videos from the trip to our own church community and discussing in groups afterwards. Andy and I also continued in relationship with those we had met on the trip. During one of our meetings we learned from Kory Kleinsasser, pastor at Waite Park Church, that he had wanted to do an extended video series similar to what Andy and I were envisioning. This led to Kory partnering with us for seven weeks at alternating locations to show the video series and facilitate follow-up group discussions.
We have each seen a need to be willing and open to:
- Racial reconciliation with our American past, present, and future and the roles we play in each.
- Listening to our brothers’ and sisters’ experiences without criticism or bias.
- Standing up to racial injustice.
In the aftermath of various members from Antioch Community and Waite park engaging in meaningful conversations, I’d like to see the Church continue to rethink how it invites and incorporates all people in all areas of ministry.
Pastoral Resident & Elder, Antioch Community Church