Photo: First Church of God community Thanksgiving meal.
By Carl Stagner
August 9, 2014. That was the day Michael Brown was shot and killed in a city which has sadly become emblematic of recent racial tensions in our country. Ferguson, Missouri, drew massive media attention in the days and weeks following the tragedy, but there was one near-tragedy that took place in another St. Louis, Missouri-area municipality which few know about. Five days earlier, Brian Burton found himself looking into the barrel of a gun which discharged; no explanation as to why the officer’s gun went off, nor why there was no bullet to be found. But Brian Burton, now pastor of First Church of God in St. Louis, considers it only by the grace of God that he’s alive today. Based on his perspectives growing up within a few minutes of Ferguson, as well as his experience leading a multicultural church today, Pastor Brian offers a clarion call to the church for reconciliation. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Central
Tagged division, Ferguson, First Church of God, Florissant, functional unity, Jesus Is the Subject, kingdom perspective, Missouri, MO, oneness, race, racial unity, racism, Reconciliation, St. Louis, united, unity
By Mary Baker-Boudissa
St. Louis, Missouri, is a big city. In many respects, though, it feels like a small city. Its residents are closely connected, even across the many municipalities that makeup the St. Louis metropolitan area. It is no wonder, then, that the shooting of Michael Brown could have such widespread impact. What much of the nation is seeing only through television and social media reports, Miki Merritt, presiding elder of the National Association of the Church of God and pastor of New Cote Brilliante Church of God in St. Louis, is witnessing firsthand. “St. Louis is my home. This is where I grew up.” Merritt goes on to describe the changes in the community since the shooting in August, “My drive to the office brings me through downtown Ferguson every day. You kind of feel like Nehemiah—that the walls of your city are being burned down.” Continue reading