This week, we marked the 60th anniversary of nine courageous African-American students withstanding a white mob to integrate Little Rock’s Central High School. The theme of the celebration was “Reflections of Progress.” While progress has undoubtedly been made since 1957, Little Rock Nine member Terrance Roberts was quick to note our country is not where we should be.
Whether it’s segregation and race relations six decades ago or violent crime and disparities in education in 2017, there’s still much work to be done.
When Roberts stood in front of the microphone Monday morning in front of a crowd that included President Clinton, Governor Hutchinson, state leaders, and hundreds of students, he took his moment in the spotlight to address people of faith:
“To those of you in the audience who are professed Christians, I speak directly to you. One, you have a Bible. Some of you may not know that the Bible is simply an acronym: Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth. Since we don’t know the exact date of our exit from this place, it’s imperative that you read the instructions now. And as you do, you will find in there admonitions to treat your brother and your sister as you would treat yourself.”
As a Christian, the message resonated with me.
Our churches have always been a force for change in the community. We’re at a point where we need that force to help improve the lives of people across Little Rock. If we’re going to tackle Little Rock’s modern day issue of violent crime, we need people of faith to lead the way and put ‘love of neighbor’ in action.
Earlier this month, Victory Over Violence had a chance to meet with more than 60 Little Rock-area pastors to talk about the campaign and our 10 community-based goals. One of our goals: “mobilize churches and pastors across the city as resources to help meet the needs of the campaign. Utilize churches to help counsel and guide children, parents, and families.”
In order to make that happen, we need you. We need your participation.
Join Victory Over Violence, Governor Asa Hutchinson, and churches across Central Arkansas for a prayer rally at War Memorial Stadium on Monday, October 9.
Doesn’t sound like your thing? Trust me, I’ve been there. If you would’ve told me a few years ago that I’d be organizing a citywide prayer service in response to violence, I wouldn’t have believed you. However, sometimes you’re called to step outside your comfort zone for the greater good. This is one of those moments.
“We Christians care enough to confront,” Roberts said as he closed his comments at Monday’s ceremony. “It’s not about being combative, it’s about love and care.”
Don’t just look the other way. Confront the crime crisis.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
Facebook RSVP (please share!): https://www.facebook.com/events/1927196670853024/
Pastor RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/victory-over-violence-prayer-rally-pastor-rsvp-tickets-37953199040
Promotional Material: http://arkansasforchrist.org/prayerrally/PromoGraphcs.zip