It’s a hot early morning in June as I stand in the parking lot on the campus of Willow Creek Community Church. My heart feels like a percussionist beating drums on my chest as I watch members for the 2010 Justice Journey Experience arrive onto our campus. For the first time since the Justice Journey began, the bus is loaded with unique local churches representing 9 denominations. Only God!
The heartbeat of the Justice Journey is individual experiences. As each member embarks on an educational and spiritual pilgrimage into southern cities, they are connected with one of the most important movements in our nation’s history- The Civil Rights Movement.
The energy level is absolutely amazing. I can hear members on the bus sharing insights with one another on their expectations related to the journey and even a few voices saying things like ‘What in the world am I doing on this bus?’ Each day throughout the Journey a Kingdom value will be lifted up:
- Monday – Relationships
- Tuesday – Awareness
- Wednesday – Repentance
- Thursday – Reconciliation
- Friday – Unity & Hope
- Saturday – Transformation
Members will encounter history through the stories of living Civil Rights legends like JoAnne Bland who actually participated in the ‘Bloody Sunday’ tragedy on March 7, 1965 on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. She witnessed first-hand as a young person when armed officers attacked peaceful African American demonstrators in their pursuit for the right to vote in this country. From there Justice Journey members will travel through Atlanta, GA, Birmingham, AL, and conclude the experience in Memphis, TN, at the National Civil Rights Museum (formerly known as the Lorraine Motel where the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated).
By the end of the week – each member on the bus will have a deeper appreciation for “Justice and Liberty for All.”
Take for example this anonymous quote from one of the Justice Journey 2010 members: “This was a marvelous way to learn about race issues and civil rights history in particular. I realize now that I’ve been ignorant- sometimes willingly so- about issues of black America. There are too many stereotypes I’ve bought into, and this journey was instrumental in tearing down those false images.”
In ways could your church reach across racial divides? What programs or ministries do you engage in within your own community to reach across racial divides?
By: Rev. Alvin C. Bibbs, Sr (@ justiceacb)
Exc. Director of Multi-Cultural Church Relations Lead
> Time Magazine, Can Megachurches Bridge the Racial Divide?