Words and pictures by Steve Pavey, see more at www.stevepavey.com
Waiting in line for a cup of coffee before Sunday morning worship I overheard someone who had just arrived say, “Where is the training for the civil disobedience?” Yes, this is church. This is how church is done at the Mission Gathering in Charlotte, NC during a week where two black men have been killed because of police violence - Keith Lamont Scott and Justin Carr. Say their names!
Steve Knight, whose title is “Pastor of Social Justice and Activism,” opened the doors to activists this week 24/7 as a “ground zero” for the front line protests in downtown Charlotte against police violence and the white supremacy that perpetuates this violence. From the pulpit the pastors said that white silence must end and the church must find again its role once again in the original call to follow Jesus the organizer and rebel. Drinking my coffee now, I overhead another young woman who confesses that her three year old daughter has never been in a church. “This is a good first experience,” she says, “but I don’t think this kind of church exists any where else.”
As people were being trained for a civil disobedience, Steve Knight raised the bread and the cup to celebrate the Lord’s Supper recounting the death of Justin Carr that week whose blood was spilt just ten feet from where he stood. This is church. This is the Gospel message. “This is my body, broken for you . . . this is my blood . . . “ And we sang together, “None of us are free, if one of us is chained.”