Jimmy Cruell, Cheryl Cruell, Machaka Young, Anita Tolliver, Kaleb Ross, Victoria Helmus, Jim Stovall, and Kathy Dority
To pursue racial reconciliation, seek gospel unity, and reflect the diversity of God’s kingdom.
by Isabel Wilkerson
In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life.
I had never heard of the “Great Migration” which references the migration of over 6 million black US citizens out of the south from 1915 to the 1970’s. I knew enough about slavery to mourn the horrible injustices, but I had little to no awareness of the on-going injustices against people of color decades later. This book took me into the lives of 3 black people and their families…and my eyes were opened. I mourned more deeply as I came to understand the journey of 3 very different people who left hopeless conditions in 3 different southern states only to step into a different set of painful conditions in three large cities in the north and west. Several months ago, a member of our Racial Reconciliation Team asked with deep emotion, “Why don’t white people believe us? Why don’t they believe we didn’t start at the same place?” She was right. I had not believed until I entered the lives of George, Robert, and Ida Mae. My eyes were opened. My heart broke. I lamented and asked God for forgiveness. I did not know. But now I do.
Years ago God led Taylors FBC on an intentional journey to build relationships, serve those in need, and share the love of Christ in our community. When racial tensions erupted in our country in the spring of 2020, Taylors FBC staff had already begun a journey to understand the historical account of racism in our own Taylors community. This history includes the murder of George Green in 1933.
In January our staff was approached by The Community Remembrance Project, a community coalition seeking our help to honor the memory of George Green, a black man killed by the KKK on property now owned by Taylors FBC. As racial tensions escalated, Taylors FBC joined the effort of many churches across our country to shine God’s light on the deep roots of racism and to become instruments of reconciliation and healing in our own community.
On November 7, community leaders, family members, and members of Taylors FBC’s Racial Reconciliation Task Team came together on the site of George Green’s death to pay respect and memorialize him. The soil collection is one part of the process in retrieving a memorial plaque and installation of Green’s memorial marker that will be installed in Taylors in 2021.
Watch Featured Video
The Gospel, Race & Justice: A Conversation
This event was held on July 12, 2020 at Rocky Creek Baptist Church. Our current SC Baptist Convention President Josh Powell, President-Elect GBA Pastor Alex Sands, and GBA Church Planter Will Broadus led this meaningful discussion about our history, the recent protests, and what we where we can go from here in a spirit of unity.Watch
An Honest Conversation
An honest conversation between, Aaron Calhoun, College Pastor for Restoration Church in Huntsville, AL, and our Minister of Students, Josh Duncan, on racial injustice today and a response as Christ-followers.Watch
Watch Dr. McWhite’s Sermon Series on “The Problem with Prejudice”Watch
We affirm this statement by the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention:
As a convention of churches committed to the equality and dignity of all people, Southern Baptists grieve the death of George Floyd, who was killed May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis, Minn. While all must grieve, we understand that in the hearts of our fellow citizens of color, incidents like these connect to a long history of unequal justice in our country, going back to the grievous Jim Crow and slavery eras. The images and information we have available to us in this case are horrific and remind us that there is much more work to be done to ensure that there is not even a hint of racial inequity in the distribution of justice in our country. We grieve to see examples of the misuse of force, and call for these issues to be addressed with speed and justice. While we thank God for our law enforcement officers that bravely risk their lives for the sake of others and uphold justice with dignity and integrity, we also lament when some law enforcement officers misuse their authority and bring unnecessary harm on the people they are called to protect. We further grieve with our minority brothers and sisters in the wake of George Floyd’s death, pray for his family and friends and greatly desire to see the misuse of force and any inequitable distributions of justice come to an end. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, the Bible speaks to matters of justice and human dignity. We are taught by Scripture that human beings are distinct among the rest of creation as those beings which bear the divine image. From the beginning of life to the end, all human beings, both male and female–of all ethnicities, colors and ages–are sacred beings that God values and loves. Throughout the law, the prophets, the gospels and the entire canon of Scripture, murder is condemned and God’s people are called to protect the vulnerable. The Bible further condemns injustice and the misuse of authority and force. And in the example of Jesus Christ, God’s people are called to love others, care for their needs, grieve with them in brokenness and labor for the well-being of our neighbor. To follow Christ is to follow in these examples He puts before us. Therefore, as a matter of Christian obedience and devotion, followers of Jesus Christ cannot remain silent when our brothers and sisters, friends and/or people we seek to win for Christ are mistreated, abused or killed unnecessarily. Therefore, we pray for our local, state, and national leaders as they seek justice, and call on them to act quickly and diligently to ensure that these situations are brought to an end. As a people, Southern Baptists stand ready to help towards that end. May God give us His favor, help and strength in this effort.
In addition to the above statement, and in agreement with the clear teaching of Scripture, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 (Articles III and XV), and our own church Constitution, we at Taylors First Baptist Church, Taylors, South Carolina, add the following:
We further acknowledge and affirm that racial injustice, prejudice, and discrimination are more than just a law enforcement versus black community issue and that such incidents are only symptomatic of a much greater disease (the inherent sinfulness of the human heart). Therefore, we renounce and lament any and all forms of this scourge that have been present in our culture, and we repent of their presence within the Church of Jesus Christ, whether evidenced by visible and overt actions or in hidden and subtle heart attitudes. We affirm the value and dignity of every person as created in the image of God and, therefore, worthy of our respect, love, and defense. As followers of Jesus Christ, it is our passion and determination to follow His example of receiving all people equally, to love and value our neighbors as we do ourselves, and to seek the welfare of others before our own. We believe that only the gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to truly transform the human heart and change our culture. We therefore commit ourselves, not just to these words, but to living out our faith by identifying and taking concrete actions that will demonstrate the reality and sincerity of our resolve to be difference-makers in our own homes, our church, our communities, our nation, and among the nations.