As a seminarian, I spend a lot of time in the classroom wondering what churches should be doing to address the issues facing our communities, especially racism in our society. The New Baptist Covenant summit last month showed me just how Baptists are coming together to overcome racism.
Current MDiv Student at Vanderbilt University Divinity School
Pastors and lay leaders alike told stories of transformation. They shared about how relationships had been built and sustained, and how they witnessed their congregations live out the beloved community through the covenants of action they had established. The common feeling was that their churches were living out their mission in a new way that met a deep need for reconciliation and helped them practice their faith better.
During worship gatherings and workshops, courage and honesty prevailed: courage to ask hard questions about our challenges and honesty about the reality of injustice in our society. Viewpoints were expressed in a spirit of support for one another and a commitment to discovering solutions together. I heard moments of lament and grief for the injustices we have seen, but also hope and determination that we will rise to meet those needs together. In a rousing call to action the last night of the summit, Rev. Traci Blackmon preached that “prayer is willingness to actively seek what is just.” In that understanding, the NBC summit was a time rich in prayer.
I left the NBC summit with ideas and, more importantly, inspiration to continue in the work of racial justice in my own community. I am excited for the ways I can bring the mission of the New Baptist Covenant to my congregation, my classroom, and my future ministry.