Recently, the seminary held a seminar entitled: From Protest to Process: Law Enforcement, Race, and Trauma--How Can the Church Become a Healing Community? It was a wonderful time of discussion among the panel of experts (including community leaders, law enforcement, and mental health representatives) about the problems making headlines across the country (think Ferguson, NYC, and now Charleston, SC). As you can imagine, there were many questions asked—so many we couldn’t get to them all. Thankfully, we had participants submit written questions and so we want to try to answer a few of those in this forum from time to time.
Consider these two questions:
My church is based in the suburbs of Philadelphia where racial tensions are better hidden. How can churches in suburbia or less racially diverse towns better participate in this justice and mercy ministry that is so critically important but just may not hit close to home?
How can churches removed from the urban setting (i.e., not predominantly African American) participate in the healing process?
I’d like to suggest the problem and solution falls into at least two different arenas: awareness/ownership of the problem and engagement towards solutions. Let’s take them one at a time.