Local church leaders finding direction after Ferguson
The need for direction. Local church leaders strive to convey the difficult messages from the fallout in Ferguson.
Local church leaders came together- praying for peace in Ferguson and our community when Michael Brown was first shot on August 9.
Now in November those same church leaders grapple with questions of their own and questions from their congregation.
Both leaders and locals alike know discussing with and depending on each other is important to maintaining peace.
Raynarldo Henderson is the pastor of Washington Street Baptist Church, a predominately black congregation. Henderson, like his congregation, struggles with his own emotion.
“I’m disappointed, disgusted.” he says, but knows how important it is to move forward so he can help others who need his guidance.
“I’ve got to get through it some way in order to get the people through it as well,” he says.
He says the church has a responsibility to be a pillar of comfort for those who require it, “we still have to work as if everything is going to change and that change does depend upon us.”
Many in his congregation reflect the same kind of emotion- church-goers like Richard Jones, “will I be subject to get shot? in Paducah? probably not, but anything can happen.”
Though devastated, Jones says he has to maintain hope in the middle of a depressing national climate.
“I’m pretty sure there’s going to have to be some good that’s going to have to happen,” Jones says.
Especially knowing Ferguson has the potential to happen anywhere- including close to home.
“This is not just Ferguson, Missouri’s problem, this is our problem.”
The group of 35 community leaders continue to work with each other.
They convene quarterly so they can continue growing their relationships they hope can better help our community during divisive events like Ferguson.
We also reached out to Heartland Worship Center. Their position on the recent events in Ferguson reads in part:
“We are praying for peace. We believe all people are created equally regardless of color in the sight of God. We will continue to foster healthy relationships with all people in our community regardless of their color.”