As a convicted felon, it has been difficult for me to find a job commensurate with my education and work experience. One of the jobs I had was working at a cucumber processing plant in Roseboro for minimum wage. My foreman at the plant was an elderly white Christian man who I thought was arrogant and racist. I would say hello to him everyday, but he would never respond. I later learned he had a severe hearing problem and was close to being deaf.
One morning, I touched him on the shoulder and he surprisingly said hello. This brief encounter began a daily dialogue between the two of us which centered around Jesus Christ. At the time, he was a deacon at one of the local United Methodist churches and I was an ordained minister in the AME church, who had just started a storefront church in Roseboro.
As time went on, he invited me to teach Bible study at his church. This led to me preaching from time to time at his church. Preaching at his church led to me being asked to preach at some other United Methodist churches, many of which, I am still close.
The experiences at the United Methodist churches led me to take the Walk to Emmaus, where in time, I was elected to serve on the Cape Fear Emmaus Board of Directors. Serving on the Board propelled me to give talks at both the Men’s and Women’s Walks. This past fall, I served as Assistant Spiritual Director for both the Men’s and Women’s Walks to Emmaus.
My entire outlook on life has changed as a result of my experience with United Methodist churches. In fact, my attitude towards racism and who are the real racists in America has been turned upside down. I now know that the common thread that brings all people together is Jesus Christ. We sometimes can only see Jesus when we see each other.
I have been treated with respect and honor in every United Methodist church that I have attended. In fact, part of me is struggling with the idea of making my church a part of the United Methodists or joining the United Methodists in some capacity. I have grown tremendously as a result of the United Methodist Church. And to think, none of this would have happened, had it not been for a white man and a black man coming together one morning for a conversation. To God be the glory!