In 2018, the XRoads Planning team launched its first XRoads event at Franklinton Center at Bricks with the vision of inspiring and equipping clergy and laity in the work of prophetic teaching, preaching, and living. Each event has provided that opportunity, and this year’s event, “XRoads 2023: Practicing Resurrection,” did not disappoint! As several participants said, “it felt like a glimpse of God’s kingdom on earth.”
Led by Rev. Janet Wolf, Mr. Eric Alexander, and Mr. Rahim Buford, participants from a variety of cultures and social locations came together to form an interactive learning community focused on scripture and prophetic living in a broken world. We wrestled with how to put flesh on faith and how to practice resurrection together.
XRoads featured worship music with three musicians from Juarez, Mexico, Raquel Vega, Berenice Belmontes, and Lawrence Edwards. We sang hymns together, took Communion together, and shared meals together of delicious Southern food cooked by the staff at the Franklinton Center at Bricks. Rev. Ellie Mendez educated us about the history of the land where we sat. What was once a breaking plantation where enslaved people were sent to be “broken,” Franklinton Center at Bricks became a school to educate people freed from slavery. The site continues to liberate through education today. In addition to hosting events like XRoads that educate about a Biblical faith that liberates, they also provided a space for public school children to access the Internet while the schools were closed during the COVID quarantine.
During our Bible studies, we engaged in Biblical animation that placed us inside the Scripture from our own social location. We studied the story of the Canaanite women in Matthew 15 and considered how the church ignores the pleas of cultures we believe to be unfamiliar outsiders. We studied the story of the healing of the demon-possessed man in Mark 5 and wondered if the church is willing to listen to those who have been liberated. We studied the story of the rich man in Mark 10 through the lens of Sabbath economics and imagined what it would look like to exchange an economy that thrives on power for one based on love.
We engaged in an exercise where various participants had to fill a jar of water using increasingly disadvantaged tools and resources. How long did it take before others stepped in to help those with fewer resources? What were their motivations? What enabled or prevented them from changing the system?
We were inspired and challenged by our retreat leaders. Toward the end of our time together, we dreamed about putting what we had learned about our faith and injustice into action. We left more equipped and inspired for the work before us. We left with full hearts. And we left committed to holding each other accountable and holding each other in support and love.
Story by XRoads participants Laura Dallas, Marketing & Resource Coordinator for the NC Conference, and Rev. Tuck Taylor, Pastor of Louisburg United Methodist Church and Member of the XRoads Planning Team.
Connect Your Story
What is your church doing to put prophetic faith into action? How is your church working to address injustice in our world? We want to hear your story and connect with you so that we can continue this kin-dom work together.