Race and the Gospel

Rev. Cliff WarnerLove Where We Live, Loving Our Neighbor

Dear Christ Church,

From Dallas last year to Charlottesville last month to St. Louis last weekend, and from immigration bans to DACA to border walls, race-related items often lead the news. How does the church listen, reflect, and engage the gospel and our times, when it comes to questions of race and ethnicity? There are two ways that our denomination and parish are seeking to engage this question in the next two weeks.

Christ Church is hosting an event (more info here) to take a close look at history, race, and policy in the city of Austin. We are delighted to have several members of the Cumberbatch family lead us through the morning. Ashton and Jennifer have been leaders in the business and church community for many years, as well as pastors in their church. Their daughter Virginia is a graduate of UT’s LBJ School of Public Affairs and works in the university’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. The morning will cover topics that I believe every resident of our city should understand about our history. As Jesus followers, and especially as Christ Church moves into the downtown East Side, we want to “Love Where We Live” by understanding the story we are entering.

The very next day, Sunday October 8, Joe Ho (Vice-President of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and Director Multi-ethnic Ministries) will be preaching on how Jesus brings down the dividing wall of hostility, from chapter 2 in our series on Ephesians.

At a denominational level, next week is the Anglican Church of North America’s annual Matthew 25 Gathering, which gathers Anglican practitioners and others interested in work among the vulnerable, marginalized, and under-resourced communities of North America. Christ Church had the honor of hosting the inaugural gathering in 2016. I hear the walls of the 112 Medina St. property still whispering its memories of the Holy Spirit’s visitation upon that inaugural gathering and community.

This year’s event will be in Phoenix, Arizona September 27-29. Our own Christine Warner is the Director of the denominational team that organized last and this year’s Gathering. Please hold her and all the speakers, worship leaders, and attendees up in prayer, (10 Christ Church-ers will attend, 40 committed to prayer!) that the Holy Spirit would visit us again, as this Gathering pays special attention to the dynamics of race in vulnerable, marginalized, and under-resourced communities.

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:14).