Spartanburg faith leaders seek unity amid nationwide unrest


SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Clergy members from across Spartanburg County gathered at Spartanburg City Hall on Tuesday to address the protests that have been going on in our area and across the nation.

More than 60 church leaders from different denominations showed up, sharing one common message.

“We speak wholeheartedly against violence, hatred, and racism of any kind,” Dr. Joseph Parks, with Grace Community Church, said.

This comes after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and the protests that his death sparked across the country.

“Even though this present pandemic has caused all of us to put on a mask, I believe that it’s time to stop masking this generational problem and begin to deal with it,” Sharome Gentry, with the Worship Center, said.

Faith leaders said they believe change will start with small acts of kindness.

“Start by asking black friends or acquaintances to share a cup of coffee or tea, and start by listening to their experiences,” Pastor Christi Brown said. “And if you can’t think of someone to ask, then that’s a red flag in and of itself.”

They came together on Tuesday to pray for love.

“Let us no longer claim to love God unless we first love our brother and sister with the same love that He gave to us,” Dr. Thomas Evans, with First Presbyterian Church, said.

They also prayed for unity.

“We are human. We are not black. We are not white. We are not male or female,” Dr. Parks said. “Let me prove it to you. If you need a blood transfusion, blood is not limited to gender or race or anything else.”

“We are one together. We are one body, one spirit, one mind in Christ Jesus,” Dr. Don Wilton, with First Baptist Church of Spartanburg, added.

They said they believe faith will be a main contributor in the fight for justice.

“Continue, oh God, to allow us to have faith–the kind of faith that will make a difference in Spartanburg, in South Carolina, in America,” Dr. Benjamin Snoddy, with Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, said.

Members of the Spartanburg Clergy Initiative told 7 News Tuesday’s event was just the beginning of a movement, and they’re hoping more people of faith, and even non-believers, will join their cause.

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