Local church hears conversation on race relations

Local church hears conversation on race relations
March 30
04:35 2017

Photo by Timothy Ramsey



CITYChurch Winston is a local church that prides itself on diversity.  Lead servant Chris Jones strongly believes in having a multi-racial church where all nationalities are represented and catered to.

Initially the church planned to have former Negro league player Henry Mason come to speak about the Gospel and race, but because of illness he was unable to make it.  Filling in at the last minute, Linda Dark of the Black History Archives of Winston-Salem came in to speak.

Dark is a Winston-Salem native and was one of the early group of students to integrate in Forsyth County as part of a program that allowed her to take advanced classes at Reynolds for one hour per day.  She recounted stories of her childhood, her work during the civil rights era and how those interactions shaped her thinking in years to come.

Jones and Dark took the stage to have a question-and-answer session, which covered topics such as “How the church’s treatment of race in America affected our ability to share the gospel” and other hot button subjects.

“I think the discussion went well and I was happy to tell my stories to the larger community,” said Dark.  “The generations today don’t quite understand non-violence and the power of grassroots people coming together.  Times have changed but there is power in faith and believing that God is going to do some miraculous things for us.”

She said she believes the best way to improve race relations between African-Americans and whites is to have discussions and air out any misconceptions. She said people are taught to think one thing from their surroundings but until you actually speak to someone of a different race, you will never know the truth about them.

“I can’t speak for other people, but for me, if you talk with someone and you respect that person, then that person cannot help but lower their defenses,” Dark continued. “My passion is working with the Black Archives of Winston-Salem and it makes me realize how important it is to teach the kids about what we had in the past. We need to preserve and explain to the new generation what happened in the past because there might be something in the past that might inspire them.”

Jones was elated to have Dark come in on such short notice. He wanted to apologize for not being able to have Mr. Mason come and speak but says he will try again if Mr. Mason is feeling better.

“I think we have to define this as a starting point,” Jones said. “Conversation is good and especially good for white brothers and sisters to hear these stories and the personal part of them. This has to be a jumping-off point into action and into building real conversations and real community across racial, socio-economic and age ties.

“This is a really important discussion and Jesus is the only answer for it,” Jones said. “The part that’s cool for me because it feels a lot like the New Testament church because they were doing things that people did not agree with. To me it feels like we are in a revolutionary space where people are interested but they still don’t understand, and that makes me feel good.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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