by Gimbiya Kettering
After everything that has happened this summer, it can be hard to believe that just four years ago, we gathered to talk about intercultural ministries as the wider nation was marking the second term of the first Black president and an era often described as “post-racial.”
We dreamed together of a multicultural church and woke up to a nightmare as the nation was rocked by successive waves of racially motivated violence: shootings of unarmed black Americans by police officers and citizens, the shooting of a Bible study group in their church by a young man intending to start a race riot, the shooting of police officers by citizens, the increase in hate crimes ranging from graffiti to beatings and murder, rallies of people carrying Nazi flags, and repeated protests in response to all of this. The pundits and politicians continually speak up about what it means--and are getting it wrong over and over.
In times such as this, what is the role of Christians? How does the church equip its members to a vision of justice rolling down like water, while also bringing good news to all flesh? What are the commandments and call in the Word for our generation?
Join a small group retreat for a time of visioning and revival about the unique role of Christians in these divided times. As the conversation in the wider culture largely consists of people on our screens telling us what to think, church is one of the few places where people can come together to learn and remember with the scriptures, wrestling with our own sin, and being anointed to set forth in this divided empire.
This time is open to pastors as well as lay leaders, deacons, congregation members, family, and friends who want to find ways to pray and work together in our churches and the wider world where God has called us.
-- Gimbiya Kettering is director of Intercultural Ministries for the Church of the Brethren, on the staff of Congregational Life Ministries. She will lead “Justice Like Water,” a retreat sponsored by the Virlina District New Church Development Committee, on Oct. 20-22 at W.E. Skelton 4-H Conference Center in Smith Mountain Lake, Wirtz, Va. For a registration brochure: http://virlina.org/images/District%20Office%20Uploads/Documents/2017_Justice_Like_Water_Retreat_Brochure.pdf .