RICHMOND, Va. -- As protesters around the world continue to demand racial equity and accountability from police, two local pastors are uniting their congregations through intentional conversation to bring more understanding and healing to the community.
“There are no good words to try to articulate what we are all feeling right now,” said Pastor Vernon Gordon of The Life Church in Richmond.
“Honestly if you call yourself a Christian and you don't care about what's happening. I would never say you're not a Christian, but I would certainly say, maybe, you're not following Jesus,” said Pastor John Wagler of Hill City Church.
The pastors say the church is the place many people turn to for direction in times of tension and pain.
“We`re hoping that the church continues to rise to the occasion,” said Gordon.
“His church is predominantly black, my church is predominantly white," Wagler explained.
They were motivated to hold an intentional conversation about race for their congregations.
“My hope is that this will help to keep furthering the conversation. There’s no quick fix to this,” said Wagler.
“The truth of the matter is it takes more than black voices. It takes all voices,” said Gordon.
While the pastors admit they don`t have all the answers, they are hoping they can add important voices and perspectives to the conversation.
“I think the answer is complicated. From my perspective as a pastor, and a Christian, I believe the hope of Jesus gives us the answer. Practically speaking, I think it's wrestling with systematic issues."
Both agree there is work that needs to be done.
“We still have a message to get out and I want to be very clear that it's not a message of hate. That is not a message of division, but it is a message of justice, and it is a message of promise that can only happen if we continue to progress,” said Gordon.
Both believe that progress starts with compassion, understanding and open conversation.
“I think everyone needs to stay humble, stay curious. If you can do that, then that allows you to take in peoples perspectives that you never would have ever been exposed to," said Wagler.
“This must be a time where we'll together to create a more promising future not just for some people, but for all people,” said Gordon.