Is This Possible?
January 16, 2014
Here, signs above the water fountains said, "For Colored Only." Certain parks, restaurants, and swimming pools prohibited all but its white guests. Distant past? No. As recently as 1960, ethnic integration on public transportation was still questionable.
Home to the Manchester Slave Trail and Lumpkin's Slave Jail, Richmond, Virginia - the capital of the Confederacy - still suffers from its terrifying and unfortunate history. Conversations of white supremacy and suppression among blacks occur in one neighborhood - the black neighborhood - while the stained image of black victimization, slothfulness, and criminalization occur in another neighborhood - the white neighborhood. Like many cities, Richmond is largely segregated. In fact, Christianity Today writes Richmond is the "site of urban-suburban divisions as stark as any in America."
Perhaps some of its ethnic segregation is opportunistically planned (e.g., Little Italy, China Town, etc.). Perhaps some of it is worse than that (e.g., exclusively wealthy neighborhoods as opposed to purposefully planned areas populated by government housing). Regardless of the reasons for ethnic and socio-economic segregation - and there are many - what is most unfortunate about the segregation that exists in Richmond is that it even exists in the vast majority of churches.
But I thought the gospel transcends ethnic barriers? I thought the good news of Christianity was for Jew and Gentile, rich and poor? It is! The Directory of Public Worship states,
"The unity and catholicity of the covenant people are to be manifest in public worship. Accordingly, the service is to be conducted in a manner that enables and expects all the members of the covenant community - male and female, old and young, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, healthy and infirm, people from every race and nation - to worship together." (1.B.4.C)
Regrettably, most churches in Richmond do not reflect that. We hope to see that change.
So why go into an area with such division to start a Bible study and hopefully plant a church? The answer is simple: people from all ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic categories need the gospel.
"How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him whom they have never heard?" (Romans 10:14, my translation).
Will you pray for this work? Will you tell others? Our hope is that God will build a Revelation 5:9-10 church in South Richmond. We believe this is possible.
Here is a brief video that talks about our desires. Contact information may be found there.
Thank you for your prayers; thank you for spreading the word. May God be glorified!