Churches from different cultures preach reconciliation on Martin - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Churches from different cultures preach reconciliation on Martin Luther King Day

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Monday was the first Martin Luther King holiday following the riots in Ferguson, Missouri, and two Louisville churches used the occasion to build bridges across the racial divide.

A predominately black church in the west end and a predominately white church in the south end were both were preaching a message of reconciliation in light of Ferguson.

“Ferguson lets us know we have a lot of work, a lot of work, a lot of work to do in America to change the face of racism in this country,” said Rev. Ron Robinson, pastor of Shawnee Presbyterian Church.

Robinson says he does not defend the violence, but says the Ferguson riots exposed a wound that had been festering under the surface.

That's why he thought it was important to bring black and white together for a special event to talk and to listen.

“Someone has to build that segue of hope, and I believe the church can become part of that, creating that dialogue,” he said.

The service included breakout sessions, and was held in collaboration with the Sowers of Justice Network.

“We do feel like this is part of a movement incumbent on all of us to reach across neighborhoods, reach across economic gaps and hear the stories of people,” said Rev. Phil Lloyd-Sidle.

Across town at the Valley Station campus of Highview Baptist Church, that's exactly what was happening.

Senior Pastor Les Hughes wanted his mostly white membership to leave its cultural comfort zone and address the issues that led to Ferguson.

“That was a prime example of just how deep these scars go. Even if we don't want to address them, they don't go away,” said Hughes.

A multi-ethic panel led a frank discussion of race and reconciliation.

“Men and women created in the image and likeness of God are worthy of dignity, and the only way we'll extend that to one another is to appreciate one another in that image,” said Kevin Smith, Teaching Pastor at Highview.

They were two churches, from two different cultures, working in two different ways working to fulfill the dream of Martin Luther King.

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