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Rev. Dr. William Barber Declares Need for a Political Pentecost, Alliance of Baptists Voices Procla
RALEIGH—30 years ago the Alliance of Baptists was formed as an act of dissent from the prevailing religious and political winds at the time. However, the founders thought it important that this new
organization not just dissent, but that dissent must be couched in the positive and life-giving, life-affirming values that give our faith meaning and purpose.
The Alliance of Baptists welcomed Rev. Dr. William Barber who led Bible Study on Friday morning, spoke on an afternoon panel and proclaimed the sermon in Friday worship. In his evening sermon, he called on all gathered and listening that this country needs a “political Pentecost.” He also participated in the protest and press conference on the steps of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, calling on the need for a moral movement, one that pursues justice for all people.
Speakers included, Rev. Dr. William Barber, Rev. Dr. Nancy Petty, Rev. Ben Boswell, Rev. Maria Swearingen, Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews, Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood and Rev. Dr. Mike Castle. Hundreds of Alliance members gathered on the steps behind the speakers wearing stoles and carrying signs of support for the protest.
As Alliance of Baptists’ president Rev. Dr. Mike Castle said, “Our experience of God compels us to speak openly, courageously, and unambiguously to matters of justice, equality, peace, love of neighbor, and religious liberty as we seek to be followers of the Jesus way and advocates and doers of his Gospel, his good news, “to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the God’s favor or grace.”
Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews, director of clergy organizing for the PICO National Network asked, “Are you a chaplain to the empire or are you a prophet to the resistance?” as he spoke of the need for people of faith to resist.
The Alliance gathered to proclaim the truth of God's love for all people and to stand against the proliferation of unjust policies coming out of Washington, D.C., and to denounce that while HB-2 may have been repealed to appease moneyed interests, it does nothing to address the discrimination and harm directed at LGBTQIA people. As senior minister at Myers Park Baptist Church, Charlotte, N.C., Rev. Benjamin Boswell said, “NC HB 142 is a bait and switch! It's not a repeal!
Rev. Maria Swearingen, pastor at Calvary Baptist Church, Washington, D.C., spoke of the immoral and unjust treatment of immigrants and the need for more sanctuary churches. Quoting scripture and calling the Alliance family to justice, she said, “"My house will be a place of prayer and safety for ALL NATIONS!”
The Alliance speakers also raised their collective voice of dissent on the death penalty, unfair treatment of immigrants and the need for sanctuary churches, our support of the #BlackLivesMatter
movement and support for our Muslim brothers and sisters.
Castle, reflecting on the need for the protest and press conference said, “One of our core Baptist beliefs is the power of dissent. But it is never dissent for the sake of dissent. We dissent when we sense that the always and ever expansive justice-love of God has been violated.”
About the Alliance of Baptists The Alliance of Baptists began in 1987 as a prophetic voice in Baptist life. Today, we are a faith community comprised of male and female laity and clergy, people of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, theological beliefs, and ministry practices. We are Christians knit together by love for one another and God, combining progressive inquiry, contemplative prayer and prophetic action to bring about justice and healing in a changing world. allianceofbaptists.org
Rev. Leah Grundset Davis, communications specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Dr. Mike Castle, president, Alliance of Baptist, senior pastor, Harmony Creek Church, Dayton, Ohio