Journey to Harmony Leadership Reflection

selma-signTransform Minnesota board member Rev. Terrance Rollerson and Pastor Andy Gray, both pastors at the Urban Refuge Church in Minneapolis lead the Sankofa Journey to Harmony.
Terrance and Andy went on the journey together in 2012, with a youth group in 2014, with several adults from the Urban Refuge Church in 2014, and in 2017 for Transform Minnesota’s inaugural Sankofa Journey to Harmony.
Read about how this spiritual journey impacted their friendship and relationship as an African American man and White man in ministry together.

Dealing with America’s History of Race

whites-only“I thought that as an adult African American male, I had dealt with things in terms of our country’s history and what that represents culturally to me. But as I went on the journey, I ended up uncovering some feelings I didn’t know were there, feelings of anger and sadness that were lingering underneath the surface, as well as emotions of being very proud of my people and their ability to endure what they endured.”

– Rev. Terrance Rollerson

img_4450“When you are right there, you feel the thickness, weight and sadness of history, as well as being inspired by the perseverance and endurance of people who fought for hope. It was very moving for me and most impactful because it felt like it connected the dots of understanding why we are where we are today and how some of the rhetoric we hear today comes from that time.”

– Pastor Andy Gray


The Importance of Journey Partners
“Sometimes I would cry like a little baby after visiting certain stops, viewing-bridgeother times I would feel a lot of anger at White people. Having Andy there with me, we were able to talk about some of those things from my perspective. To be able to do that with someone who had not lived my cultural experience made it a much deeper, richer conversation, and we were able to come to some common ground of understanding. It was a safe place that allowed me to rest in my sadness and my anger.”

– Rev. Terrance Rollerson

“The Sankofa journey has the power and potential to unearth thoughts and attitudes that need to be aligned differently, or even hurt or pain that has gone unspoken or unshared and needs to be walked through. 20160402_174105Sankofa means learning from our past so we can do better for our future. Looking at the past is a different experience for me than what we are asking our African American journey partners to do. The vulnerability was far greater for Terrance than it was for me.”

-Pastor Andy Gray


Deepening Relationships Across Cultures

“Our hope and desire is that as pastors experience this with a partner of a different race that their conversation will continue when we get back to the Twin Cities, prayingthat there will have been growth and that further trust would have been built in their relationship. As we continue to try to navigate the larger conversation of race in the Twin Cities, the hope is that a new strength would come to this partnership, so as we do further work in the Twin Cities, some common ground would have been built because we’ve journeyed together.”

– Rev. Terrance Rollerson
“To foster relationships that could last a lot longer and impact our communities for years. To acknowledge ‘you are my neighbor in more ways than one.’ We have this opportunity for something to grow, for seeds to be planted that could impact our communities and churches in the way we interact.”

– Pastor Andy Gray


Learning about Yourself and Your Heritage

“I am a living testimony and heritage to present day culture because of what my ancestors went through.”

– Rev. Terrance Rollerson

visit-with-dr-perkins“For me it was a learning, it was an entering in. How can we be peacemakers if we are not willing to enter into the pain, and recognize this is not your story, it’s our story as a nation and as the Church? Even now, how can we be a part of leading and setting the example of doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with our Lord? How do we walk together in oneness versus walking in the same direction in parallel lines? There is great power in unity.”

– Pastor Andy Gray


Impact on the Twin Cities

img_4225“Where we are culturally now, to have this conversation with someone is critically important for us as pastors, and it has the potential to lead to a significant impact on the Twin Cities.”

– Rev. Terrance Rollerson

“If pastors from around the Twin Cities experience this together: being together, observing, walking, writing, listening and talking, spending time praying through these things together, it will be a powerful and unifying dynamic that happens as we work to bring about unity in the Church here in the Twin Cities.”

-Pastor Andy Gray


For more information on how to register for Sankofa Journey to Harmony.

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