Last Wednesday, I stood alongside other clergy, stole around my neck, and joined many others who stood behind the Pastor of Greenwood Forest Baptist Church from Cary, NC to be a voice for Gilles Bikindou. Gilles had been detained and is on track to be deported. Gilles is a member of Greenwood Forest Baptist. Gilles. He came to the US legally. For a fuller telling of his story, see a recent article from Baptist News Global here.
On Monday of this week, I stood alongside other clergy, stole around my neck, and joined many others who stood behind the Pastor of Wedgewood Church in solidarity with their extreme welcome. This extravagant hospitality resulted in vulgar anti-gay graffiti painted across their front doors. This is the seventh time Wedgewood has been vandalized in such manner. Wedgewood began many years ago because Park Road Baptist, along with several other churches, decided to start a new church. For a fuller telling of this story, see a recent article from The Charlotte Observer here.
It’s becoming much too normal to stand alongside other clergy, stole around my neck, and join many others standing behind people speaking the Truth in Love, speaking Truth to Power. Monday is my day off, so I had to run by the office to pick up a stole before making my way to the prayer vigil at Wedgewood. I have a pretty large collection of stoles, so I have decided to keep a couple in my car because it seems I am too often called upon to stand alongside other clergy, stole around my neck, and join many others support courageous and prophetic folks who are living out the extravagant welcome of God.
It was noted at Monday’s gathering that there are many churches, congregations, and houses of faith in Charlotte which offer this kind of radical inclusion for immi-grants and refugees and people of every race and sexual orientation and gender identity. I’m glad and honored to stand alongside not only for myself but also on your behalf.
I got a message Monday night that read: Thank you for going to Wedgewood today. News of this kind of hate act anywhere is troubling and extra heavy this close to home. So thank you!
People’s lives are crazy busy. And jobs and schedules get in the way of people being able to show up for gatherings like last Wednesday and this Monday. And so I know that a part of my job as Pastor is showing up for all of us. I count it an honor and a privilege.
Join me in praying that standing alongside other clergy, stole around my neck, and joining many others who stand behind those proclaiming the Love of God will make a real difference. And that those gatherings will motivate all of us to more action on behalf of anyone who is being discriminated against, belittled, or neglected.
May it be so. Amen.
Amy Jacks Dean