By Carl Stagner
Ferguson. Baltimore. St. Paul. Dallas. Baton Rouge. At the mention of these cities, a range of emotions is awakened in a time when issues of race and reconciliation once again dominate the headlines. The tragic deaths of young black men and police officers over the past few months have not only incited rage, sorrow, and further exacerbated racial tensions, but have also surely grieved the very heart of God. Does the church have anything to say? Would it be easier to avoid the issue because it’s so contentious? Politicians and pundits have weighed in and offer no shortage of opinions. No, the church cannot stay silent. We need to talk.
In conjunction with the third-and-final Regional Convention of the Church of God this year, ministers and laypeople will come together to grapple with the timely topic of racial unity. On Thursday, September 29, at New Covenant Church in the heart of the culturally diverse City of Brotherly Love, a variety of speakers will make TED talk-style presentations, followed by opportunity for question-and-answer. Jim Lyon will host as Diana Swoope, Vivian Moore, Reggie McNeal, and Mark Galli will speak to issues of race and reconciliation from a Christian perspective. As always, dialogue will take place with love for one another and, as always, the plumb line will be Scripture.
A commission of qualified and diverse individuals from the movement will craft a statement of clarity within six to nine months of the CHOG Table to serve as a resource for the Church of God going forward. Among these Spirit-led leaders are Curtiss DeYoung, Kevin Earley, Scott Evans, Dale Gruver, Cynthia Mansfield, Paul McAllister, Ramon Rivera, and Cheryl Sanders.
Previous CHOG Tables have also given the movement opportunity to discuss other timely topics, including sexual ethics (at Vancouver, Washington) and immigration (at Anderson, Indiana).
There’s a place at the Table for you, too! Register for the Church of God Convention (September 27–29 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) and CHOG Table at www.chogconvention.org. Learn more about the CHOG Table at www.chogtable.org.