Bishop Ward is joined by Clara Ester in a conversation about anti-racism and the Church. Ms. Ester is a UM deaconess and witness to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Grace and peace to you on this beautiful sunny day.
We are at Franklinton Center at Bricks near Whitakers, North Carolina engaged in the Crossroads Retreat, the third of three retreats in which we consider the intersection of the church and the world. We’re focusing on racial reconciliation and anti-racism, a strong focus of the ministry of our Annual Conference. Clara Ester is one of our honored guests, teachers, and leaders of this time together. Thank you for being here.
It’s been a pleasure. I have just been overwhelmed with where I am. To hear the history of this location, to be on the land where my ancestors stood and worked and were beaten and died touches my heart very deeply. But what better place than this place to talk about racism and the system that we’re living in again today. I think that this event has been a positive growing experience for the people involved and I’m hoping and praying they will leave here engaged to go out and make a difference because this is the time that we as Christian people must stand up and start having more conversations around issues that are destroying our country in 2019 and will continue to destroy in the future. As people that love God and love our neighbors as ourselves, we need to understand who we are, understand one another, and grow to love each other in such a way that we can live in harmony.
You’ve given your whole life to this work.
Yes and looking back 50 years ago Bishop, witnessing Martin King’s assassination, it has really torn at me that we have reversed what I fought for 50 years ago and we’re still fighting the same battles. That’s why it’s so urgent because we never talked before at any length. There were some churches that did, but if all churches could come together with all peoples color and talk things through, I know we could make this a better place.
We so agree and as an Annual Conference, let us together recommit ourselves to learning the history of our communities, the whole history, the history of all people who have lived in these spaces and let us recommit ourselves to building the justice that God desires for all God’s beloved children.