ONERACE: RACIAL RECONCILIATION THROUGH PRAYER, FASTING, AND RELATIONSHIPS
By the spring of 2016, the country seemed mired in racial upheaval not seen since the 1960s.
Indeed nearly eight years after the election of Barack Obama as the nation’s first black president, profound differences between blacks and whites were emerging around race, reigniting national conversations.
A Pew Research Center survey that year found that 88% of blacks believed the country needs to continue making changes for blacks to have equal rights with whites; the figure for whites with that view was 53%.
[Bishop Garland] Hunt and [Billy] Humphrey believed then as they do now that the answer could only be found in the church.
In a retreat with their wives, the men began to pray, and out of those prayers emerged OneRace, a movement to displace racism with racial reconciliation across the nation through prayer, fasting and relationships.
They immediately began work organizing OneRace Stone Mountain and the “Millennial Ascent,” a nondenominational prayer and worship service at Stone Mountain Park, once a meeting place for the Ku Klux Klan and other white power groups.
Last August, it drew more than 1,000 young adults and Christian leaders. In a series of sermons, they were called to be the peace they want and thus, like Christ, break down the walls of hostility and hatred that separate us.
What happened that day at Stone Mountain was one of 35 multicultural events OneRace has held this past year across metro Atlanta and Columbus, calling congregations together in continual prayer for racial reconciliation and spiritual revival.
They are not done.
Come Aug. 2, OneRace will host the 400Conference at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, intended to commemorate the 400th anniversary of slavery in America and raise awareness about that racial history, the role of the church in it, and the part the church must play in bringing healing.
Following a 21-day fast, Aug. 4-25, they will host a Day of Remembrance, at which time more than 30 churches are scheduled to hold simultaneous worship services across metro Atlanta.
[Josh] Clemons, co-director of OneRace and a member of the New Bridge Church, a nondenominational church in Lawrenceville, said the solution for racial disharmony is outlined in John 17, in which Jesus prays for his disciples and believers who will come after them to be one as he and the father are one so that the world might believe in God.
That, Clemons said, serves as a mandate for the church to model oneness to the world. . . .
OneRace isn’t exactly unique, they said. There have been other attempts like Promise Keepers to bring about racial reconciliation, but the “Lord is inviting us to go deeper,’’ to lament, repent and replace division with a new testimony.
Said Stevens, co-director of OneRace and missions pastor at the House of Prayer, this is a kairos moment, an ancient Greek word meaning the opportune time, in which he believes God is inviting us to address the issues of our heart and to be spiritually transformed. . . .
The 400Conference is a grand opportunity for the church to lean in and speak truth to the pain that exists and finally fully embrace the teachings of Jesus, who was willing to cross cultural lines to create bridges.
“We’re calling the church to know the story about race and culture in America, own its complicity, lament, repent and to change the story for future generations,” Clemons said. “That means putting feet to their prayers, money behind their proclamation and live differently in their sphere of influence.” (Excerpt from the Atlanta Journal Constititution.)
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