More than 100 pastors from along the Interstate 5 corridor gathered at the Tukwila Community Center on Dec. 1 to discuss the racial divide in the U.S.
Andre Sims, a pastor at Christ the King Bible Fellowship in Federal Way, and Dean Curry, pastor at Life Center Tacoma, spearheaded the conference to help equip pastors to deal with issues of race bought on by recent police shootings and the presidential election.
“This gathering come out of a conversation Andre and I had several months ago where I was telling him about the repentance issues that we have had to go through at our church at Life Center around racial reconciliation,” Curry said. “I have not been good at this. I have not been good at being a community leader around the prejudice that has existed around our culture for so long.”
The idea behind the gathering was to give pastors an opportunity to brainstorm ways to address the divide.
“If I am going to say the wrong thing and that is going to create divide, in some cases I just assume not say anything,” Sims said. “Well, the problem is not going away just because I am not saying anything.”
Addressing the issues can be difficult, but it is necessary, Sims said.
“The goal is for us have some very uncomfortable, awkward, potentially politically incorrect conversations,” Sims said. “Some very probably offensive videos will be shown. They are offensive in the sense that it is egregious that this is where we are in our country that these thing would be happening.”
Those types of conversations are taking place, just on smaller scales, Sims said.
“There are pockets of pastors having conversations with each of the different ethnicities,” he said. “Those are very beneficial but they tend to be two guys, four guys, three guys but the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.”
The church needs to take the lead on addressing these issues, Curry said.
“These are moral issues,” he said. “It’s not just a racial problem. It is a moral problem. It is moral bankruptcy. We feel if we don’t lead, who is going to? You can’t just legislate people to like each other. It’s a change of the human heart.”
Several pastors shared ways they are dealing with these issues in their own churches.
The conversations at the conference will inspire the topics for breakout sessions at larger conferences in the future, Sims said.