On Nov. 14 about 90 attended a daylong seminar titled “Addressing Race and Racism Within the Church and Society” at Mountain Christian Church, Joppa, MD.
Sponsored by the Stone-Campbell Dialogue, and partnering with the Racial Unity Leadership Summit, the event shared insights on how to develop sustainable steps for greater racial unity and justice.
The event was the centerpiece of this year’s annual meeting of the Stone-Campbell Dialogue. The Dialogue continued Nov. 15 with debriefing and planning among 17 members of the Dialogue’s national team, followed by a unity Communion service that evening, hosted by Westside Church of Christ, Baltimore, MD.
The Stone-Campbell Dialogue has met at least annually for 16 years to foster understanding and acknowledge unity among three “streams” of the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement, whose roots in the United States trace back to the 18th century. For many decades, these three streams have remained distinct as individual churches: the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); the churches of Christ; and the Christian churches and churches of Christ.
The Maryland meetings were an example of the Dialogue’s most recent approach, that is, to express and experience unity by concentrating together on issues, challenges, and opportunities concerning all Christians.
The Racial Unity Leadership Summit (RULS) began in 2013 as an outgrowth of Dr. Jerry Taylor’s sabbatical study. Taylor, assistant professor of Bible at Abilene (TX) Christian University, has organized RULS gatherings in cities across America, including Abilene; Atlanta, GA; Nashville and Memphis, TN; Oxford, MS; and Los Angeles, CA.
Five speakers made presentations at the Maryland event: Daryl Reed, lead pastor of DC Regional Christian Church; Doug Foster, professor of church history, Abilene Christian University; Travis Stanley, pastor of Norwalk (IA) Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); Travis Hurley, vice president of development with Ozark Christian College, Joplin, MO; and David Fleer, professor of Bible and communication at Lipscomb University in Nashville.
Don McLaughlin, preaching minister with the North Atlanta (GA) Church of Christ, moderated the program. Robert Welsh, president of the Council on Christian Unity of the Disciples of Christ based in Indianapolis, IN, hosted a panel discussion with testimonies in response to the killing of Freddie Gray in Baltimore from three local church leaders who have worked to build racial unity: Lawrence Rodgers, ministering evangelist with the Westside church; Beverly Goines, assistant pastor with the National City Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Washington, D.C.; and Ben Cachiaras, senior pastor with Mountain Christian Church, Joppa, MD.
Six individuals from independent Christian churches and churches of Christ were part of the 17-member national team attending the Baltimore meeting: William Baker, editor of the Stone-Campbell Journal; Alicia Crumpton, dean, School of Business and Public Leadership, Johnson University, Knoxville, TN; Aaron Monts, lead planter with Seattle (WA) Partnership; Terry O’Casey, director, School of Christian Ministry, Northwest Christian University, Eugene, OR; Mark A. Taylor, editor of Christian Standard; and Guthrie Veech, president, St. Louis Christian College, Florissant, MO.