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Town of Cary Hosted Diversity Summit

Diversity Summit

We all had the same look of confused amazement when told that Town of Cary would be hosting a conversation of this nature. I admit I too was optimistically cautious. This Diversity summit was held in the Cary Arts Center, a beautiful location. They had 3 separate panels to discuss Diversity in Church, Community and Corporate America.

The Martin Luther King Jr. quote :  "it is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o'clock on Sunday morning." was the inspiration for the first panel. This was a fitting way to start the discussion on such a still touchy topic. The panelist were composed of 5 of the largest and most noticeable church leaders in The triangle area. 


From L-to -R Pastor Andy Thompson, Pastor Benji Kelly, Pastor Classy Preston, Pastor Jasper Wilkins, & Pastor Ron Lewis. 
Each pastor has a unique perspective on Diversity in church and why more church are not diverse. 2 of the panelist Pastor Benji and Pastor Lewis both stated that their churches were at least 40% non white. While Pastor Andy could boost that he had the most watch church programing on the area and has thousands of members; however 97% of them were African american. He purposed the question of leadership, " is it more difficult for are a White person to go be under Black leadership".  The discussion quickly took its turn as expected, the answers were varied. Pastor Benji explained how he actively included this multicultural dynamic to this church. Pastor Wilkins simply stated " you are to take who God sends, regardless of color" Pastor Classy perspective was quite telling. She too had actively engaged the many demographics in the Cary area after moving her church there and still struggled with seeing the fruits of her labor. So is it a question of comfort Tje moderator read statistics, they showed that black or white, most people don't feel their churches need more diversity. Pastor Andy stated he was very comfortable being the leader of a larger predominately black church, Then something remarkable happened, Pastor Ron simple took a step out of the conversation to Apologize. He apologized for the atrocities committed on the black community as a whole. He admitted that he only truly discovered the tremendous impact that slavery and other clivil injustices had impacted family through his ministries. He had created an environment of non judgement in his church that allow people to candidly tell their stories. From that he was compelled to add the apology, because healing begin with forgiveness. 

I glanced around the room a little for my own sake, to keep from tearing up and also I wanted to see if others were equally touched by the gesture. It was a captivating moment, every eye seem to be on him. I was sure the rest of the discussion were going to be amazing. Its not hard to see where each pastors passion came from and yet they all held a level of compassion and grace. Joel Brown our moderator did a great job of moving the conversation  to and from each panelist. There was a brief break before the 2nd panel. I have listed here the websites for each church, I plan to visit each one. 

 http://www.worldovercomers.church/
http://www.benjikelley.com/
http://www.pgc-cary.org/
http://kingspark.org/new
http://www.wakechapel.net/2015/


There were quite a few speakers including the mayor of Cary Harold Weinbrecht 




Jessica Holmes Introduced herself, the youngest member of the Wake county board of commissioners. She explained how important she felt this conversation was and how she too still faces difficulties in her role. People often mistake for the assistant to her counterparts. she also had a seat on the 2 panel conversation which was consisted on community leaders. There were so many great moments in this summit unfortunately it too many of them. No worries  I am sure it will be replaying a some cable access channel. for now, here are a few more shots form the event.  

I leave yo with this though. 

In the matter of diversity it seem to be the overall agreement that if you seek to see change , you have to actively include other in your world. SO everyday or as often as you can, make the effort to bring someone outside of your culture in. Just that simple... 




  



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