|October 8, 2014
National Association of Evangelicals
The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 9 brought race relations to the forefront of the news. A survey of evangelical leaders conducted three days prior to the shooting indicates that racial reconciliation was already an ongoing topic among evangelical churches in the United States. Seventy-one percent of the evangelical leaders surveyed said their churches have discussed the need for racial reconciliation from the pulpit, in seminars or in courses, according to the August Evangelical Leaders Survey.
“The survey shows that evangelicals care about racial reconciliation,” said Leith Anderson, President of the National Association of Evangelicals. “Most have addressed the issue publicly. Some have placed special emphasis on it. Others haven’t but know they should. A few have not, even though many of their members are minorities.”
Paul de Vries, President of New York Divinity School and Senior Pastor of Immanuel Community Church in Manhattan, said, “Even in our racially diverse congregation, racial reconciliation is an important theme going forward toward more complete healing.”
While the survey asked about the churches that leaders attend, denominational, educational and organizational leaders indicated that the topic has been important in their contexts as well.
For example, Doug Beacham, General Superintendent of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC), said his denomination started engaging the issue 20 years ago, when the former IPHC General Superintendent worked to unite two Pentecostal denominational fellowships, which were divided by race, to create the Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches of North America, a fellowship that continues today.
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