From the time I woke up last Thursday morning until the time I got to work,
I could do nothing but cry.
David Bailey is the founder and executive director of Arrabon, a ministry that equips churches and organizations for effective cross-cultural engagement and practices in reconciliation. Arrabon operates in the East End of Richmond, the same community we serve in at CHAT. This week, we're sharing David's reflection on the events in our nation over the last few weeks, and the impact his ministry is making in our community.
I wept because of the shootings I saw. I wept because I saw a 15-year old boy crying, saying, “I want my Daddy!” I wept because of the way people dialogue about their experience about race. It’s often not a dialogue, but a dismissal of one another’s experience.
I was crying, praying, and contemplating. I was praying and contemplating, how do I shepherd people well in a situation like this? It felt overwhelming because I was processing my own thoughts and feelings while praying through how to shepherd the people participating in a national conference call with other national leaders that I was asked to help lead. And I also had a responsibility to shepherd Arrabon's summer interns through this national tragedy.
What do I say? What do I do? What does God want to say and do?
I think Makeda and Lindsey are a foretaste of what God wants to do in such a time as this.
Makeda is an African-American young lady who grew up in Richmond. Lindsey is a white American young lady from a place in Nebraska that I’m still trying to find on the map!
They are roommates this summer for the Urban Songwriting Internship, an intensive 8-week leadership development program providing learning experiences on biblical theology, multicultural worship, race, class and culture, songwriting and more. They’ve been friends since day one, and they have been processing their life, their
internship experiences, and the various iterations of conversations around race we’ve had this summer.
Like an unexpected punch in the gut, when events of last week happened we were all devastated. What do we do? How do we process this?
Pastor Doug from East End Fellowship and I co-led a time of processing and prayer on Thursday. We gave permission for people to process their experience without judgment no matter where they were in the journey.
Things got real! It got expressive, loud, and there were a lot of tears, but no matter how uncomfortable it felt… we listened to one another.
If I were to summarize the experience, it’s best expressed in the dialogue that Makeda and Lindsey had later that day:
Lindsey: My brother is a white police officer…
Makeda: My dad is a black man...
Lindsey & Makeda listened to each other with their hearts because they have been walking, working, and worshipping together before this national tragedy and will be in a relationship after the news cycle ends.
Friday morning, I woke up to the news of the killing of 5 police officers. My heart broke even more. My heart broke for their families and the further polarization of this senseless act cultivates.
Some people are responding to these times with marches. Some churches are responding with prayer services. Arrabon will continue to respond with making disciples who will be agents of the Reconciling Kingdom of God.
Arrabon is going to keep on equipping churches, organizations, and young people like Makeda and Lindsey to be leaders for such a time as this!
This is the calling that we at Arrabon are called to.
We are so grateful for community partners like David Bailey and Arrabon.
Click here to learn more about the work of Arrabon.
Click here to learn about their upcoming dinner & a show.