February is Black History Month. We thought this would be a good time to highlight three of our chapter leaders who have stepped up to make a difference in their congregations and their communities. We will be looking back in order to move forward.
In 1999, Tom Pickett started working in reconciliation in Fort Worth, Texas. After presenting a sermon on racial reconciliation, a member asked him, “Why do you keep giving messages on that topic?” Tom responded by telling the man he believes the reconciliation we have received in Christ applies to all people and all circumstances, as stated in 2 Corinthians 5:14-21.
With the goal of reaching a broader audience, Tom now records his sermons and shares his videos on Facebook, YouTube.com/atimetoreconcile, and Hashem TV. Through live streaming, he has reached people as far away as India and Africa. I am thankful for the way Tom is using technology to spread the message of reconciliation.
Evelyn O’Callaghan-Burkhard lives in Ireland. Last September she joined the committee of an organization called “Christian Action in Orient,” a branch of the Missionary Department of the French-speaking churches in Switzerland. Its aim is to help Christian churches in the Orient by supporting refugees who have come from Oriental countries to Switzerland, Holland, France, and even Lebanon. This organization has invited me to partner with parishes in French-speaking Switzerland in researching ways to support Christians who are experiencing the pain of rejection by their families after leaving the Muslim faith for Christianity.
In Ferguson, Missouri, Karl Reinagel spent the majority of 2019 with the Ferguson Police Department, regularly attending four roll calls per week. In addition to participating in special events geared towards strengthening the relationship of police and the community, Karl’s presence was especially important during the week of August 9, which marked the fifth anniversary of Michael Brown’s death. Several New Creation in Christ members provided “boots on the ground” that day in a prayer tent on Canfield Drive. Karl served as chaplain, praying for the officers and presenting them with printed copies of Psalm 121 for their encouragement. He noted how wonderful it was to see a sense of peace beginning to return to the community as protests commemorating the tragic events were held only on the anniversary itself, instead of extending several days or weeks, as they had in recent years.
We have been blessed to bring ORM’s approach towards reconciliation into Ferguson, a community that welcomes guidance in promoting mutual respect and understanding. There is still much work to be done.
I want to thank Tom, Evelyn and Karl again for the great job they are doing as they continue stepping up to make a difference. And I thank you for your prayers and donations that help keep this ministry going in these trying times.
In closing, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes by C.S. Lewis: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” Let’s continue to help God change the ending.